MARCH 2019

News

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TO DISCOVER

The virtues of the mountain

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OUR HISTORY

The father of cell therapy

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INNOVATION

The future of Clinique La Prairie

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MEDICAL

Medical advice as a starting line

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FUTURE

To develop at the international level the unique concept of la Clinique La Prairie

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WELLBEING

The spa, an oasis of beauty and well-being

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NUTRITION

A major duet in the kitchen

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MOUVEMENT

The essential fitness room

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AESTHETIC MEDICINE

A global aesthetic offer

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JOSÉ LÓPEZ

A committed doctor

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MOUNIR ZIADÉ

Between worlds two

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FITNESS

The body in 360°

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VITAL

Sleep – my best ally

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HEALTH

No diet required to manage your weight!

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OUR HISTORY

Birth of a medical center

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TRUE/FALSE

Fitness is not an exact science

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PROGRAMME

The moving body

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PROGRAMME

Take the time to listen to your body

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PORTRAIT

José López

 

A COMMITTED DOCTOR

 

A radiologist at Clinique La Prairie for almost ten years and now Medical Director since 2018, José López has breathed new life into the establishment. Passionate and altruistic, he has shown great commitment in improving medical techniques in Peru, his country of origin, and in Algeria.


Text: Thomas Pfefferlé – Photos: Sébastien Agnetti et AdobeStock

Unlike most people, José López knew what he wanted to do in life at an early age. Even at primary school in Lima, he knew that he would go to university to become a scientist. Hailing from a hard-working family which instilled in him a desire for learning combined with intellectual curiosity, he began studying medicine in 1967. At the age of 19, he left home and his country to continue his training in Europe. A pilot and director of an airline company, his father paid for his ticket to Switzerland. “At the time, Peru was gripped by strikes led by both teachers and students, explains López. It was impossible for me to continue my training against such a backdrop and my grandmother, who had already travelled through Europe, strengthened my desire to leave.”
Upon arriving in Lausanne, he enrolled in an intensive French course. He was quickly struck by the order, good timekeeping and serious approach to life he witnessed in Switzerland. It provided a rigorous atmosphere that suited him perfectly. He enrolled at the University of Lausanne and found work with Wagonlit, which enabled him to learn more about Europe during his working hours. Six and a half years later, he completed his studies. “My aim was to return to Peru to work in paediatrics as there are significant needs in this field.” He managed to obtain a grant from the Mexican government to train in his chosen field. However, he first had to spend a year specialising in radiology or pathology, so he joined the radiology department at the Vaud teaching university. “Initially, I didn’t think about extending my specialisation. However, I discovered that I was genuinely interested in this branch. As I was interested in photography and pictures, I understood that I was made for radiology and that I had the necessary qualities to interpret an image and provide a diagnosis.”
At the end of the 1970s, the discipline enjoyed significant technological developments and radiologists were increasingly in demand. Having never lost sight of his initial goal of working in paediatrics, López left Switzerland for a post in a hospital in Algiers as senior physician of the paediatric radiology ward. “I was young and inexperienced to assume so much responsibility. I nevertheless took up the challenge, driven as always by my curiosity and my desire to learn.” Once there, José López shared his knowledge and trained technicians in the field of radiology. Working with the Ministry of Health, he also helped develop the hospital’s infrastructure and equipment.
Two years later, having returned to Switzerland, he joined the Vaud teaching hospital again and completed his radiology training. It was then time to “pay his moral debt to the country of his birth”. And so it was that he returned to Peru.

“When I returned to Peru, I had to sit my exams again to formalise my status as a doctor. Naturally, I wasn’t expecting that. Once I had passed my exams for the second time, I started work as a general radiologist at the Cancer Institute in Lima”. The needs and workload were intense: almost 400 beds which were never empty and hundreds of consultations every day. In addition to providing care, the doctor also launched a massive training programme. He introduced ultrasound, a technique which was then unknown in the country, and established a rota system enabling doctors from remote provinces to be trained in Lima. This allowed him to share his knowledge with as many people as possible, contributing to improving the quality of the care provided. He favoured a practical approach when training his confrères in order to bring them into direct contact with the technology and to encourage them to take greater responsibility.

“My philosophy has always been to favour collaboration and mutual assistance”

“When I returned to Peru, I had to sit my exams again to formalise my status as a doctor. Naturally, I wasn’t expecting that. Once I had passed my exams for the second time, I started work as a general radiologist at the Cancer Institute in Lima”. The needs and workload were intense: almost 400 beds which were never empty and hundreds of consultations every day. In addition to providing care, the doctor also launched a massive training programme. He introduced ultrasound, a technique which was then unknown in the country, and established a rota system enabling doctors from remote provinces to be trained in Lima. This allowed him to share his knowledge with as many people as possible, contributing to improving the quality of the care provided. He favoured a practical approach when training his confrères in order to bring them into direct contact with the technology and to encourage them to take greater responsibility.
At the same time, he passed a teaching examination and was appointed radiology diagnosis professor at the Peruvian University of Cayetano Heredia in Lima. During his holidays, he worked as a substitute doctor in several hospitals in Switzerland, thereby staying in contact with his Swiss colleagues. At the end of the 1980s, Peru experienced a period of violent guerrilla warfare which led to the death of several tens of thousands of people. The far-left Shining Path movement carried out numerous attacks and destroyed the power plants in Lima on several occasions, depriving hospitals of electricity. With equipment primarily imported from neighbouring countries or from Europe, radiology wards began to run short of resources and of tension and instability, José López decided to return to Switzerland where he worked in several establishments as a senior physician. As active and committed as ever, he used his holidays to return to Peru to continue his university teaching in the capital.
In 2007, he joined Clinique La Prairie. “The radiology department was relatively small, recalls the doctor. Patients had to wait for up to ten or fifteen days for an appointment.” Under his impetus, the clinic expanded the department and scaled up its equipment. “The management board has always supported us in our procedures and we now enjoy highly modern infrastructure. When I arrived, there were only four of us compared to the 17 people now working in the department. This enables us to satisfy the demand quite comfortably. Most patients are seen in our department on the same day as their consultation with their doctor. In order to provide the best possible service, we work collectively. Furthermore, in both my private life and my professional life, my philosophy has always been to favour collaboration and mutual assistance because the best results are achieved as a team. Nothing comes from working alone.”