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Revista Cubana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1561-3127Print version ISSN 0864-3466


SANTIESTEBAN FREIXAS, Rosaralis. Rafael Argilagos Ginferrer, was he the first cuban internationalist fighting physician?. Rev. cub. salud pública [online]. 2008, vol.34, n.3, pp.1-9. ISSN 1561-3127.

Introduction: Medical cooperation and in particular the help of Cuban physicians to the independence war of other countries, by practising their profession and also by participating in the struggle, has been a characteristic of the Cuban nation's sons and daughters. This should have begun in the 19th century during the independence wars waged in the Americas, but little is known about the first people who had adopted this attitude. Objectives: To emphasize the personality of Rafael Argilagos Ginferrer, one of the first Cubans in this field. Methods The historical records from Havana, Camaguey and Santiago de Cuba and other documents were reviewed in search for more information about Rafael's life. Results: He was born on October 11, 1835 in Puerto Príncipe. He was the son of a Catalan landowner and a Cuban woman. He studied secondary school and military engineering in Spain and also graduated as civil engineer in Paris and then as physician in 1860. He returned to Cuba but in 1864, he left the country to work as physician for Benito Juárez's army in Mexico. He was promoted to the rank of Commander in this war. He led there the Military Hospital of Cordova as chief medical surgeon and was also an assistant to the Chief of Army named General Gonzales Ortega. He came back to Cuba in 1867 and one year later, he decided to participate in the first Cuban independence war. He died in battle in 1870 under the command of General Manuel de Quesada. At that time, he had already been promoted to the rank of brigadier general because of his work as physician, his excellent military technique and courage at the battlefield.

Keywords : Rafael Argilagos Ginferrer; internationalist physicians; physician in the Cuban independence war; Cuban medicine.

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