He was one of the many officials of the Puerto Montt Hospital who was on the front line during the darkest months of the pandemic, in charge of coordinating the vital task of airlifting hundreds of Covid patients from Puerto Montt to different cities in the country. It was during those moments that the Surgeon, Arturo Guijón, 56 years old, verified once again that the fact of belonging to the Air Force and at the same time being a doctor, was “the perfect symbiosis” to help the community of Puerto Montt, of which he has been a part for the last decades.
“The Air Force has allowed me to have a link from arriving at the scene of the event until after the outcome. I have had to rescue massive accidents with 60 injured, then fly to Puerto Montt Hospital, enter the pavilion and resolve emergencies immediately. It has been very good for someone who likes emergency surgery, it was the perfect complement”, details Dr. Guijón, who also confesses that his love for medicine came long before he joined the Armed Forces.
“The love for medicine came first, I had very good examples like my father and my uncle, I always had the intention of being a doctor to follow in their footsteps. After studying medicine and doing the specialty, I arrived in Puerto Montt and they called me from the Air Force”.
Scholar in Surgery from the University of Chile, creator of the Ambulatory Surgery Service of the Puerto Montt Hospital, Air Force officer and coordinator of the air transfer of emergency patients, Dr. Guijón specified that “one should be recognized by the things he does and not by presence. The main thing is when the patient thanks you, that is the most rewarding thing a surgeon should feel.”
The doctor has received the affection that the community of the Los Lagos Region has for the military institution. The collaborative work that this branch of the Armed Forces has carried out in an extensive territory and with isolated localities, has been fundamental in the appreciation of the users, where the planes of the institution have been on many occasions the only connection in moments of emergency and need.
“In Los Lagos there is a very special situation, since the Air Force is not a combat unit but rather one of support and support to the community. For example, in the transfer of sick people, injured in accidents, transfer of materials, construction of health posts and schools. There has been a much greater proximity to the population than in other parts of Chile. It really is very nice because you feel a mutual recognition of the community and all the hospital personnel towards the Air Force”, assured the doctor.
However, Dr. Guijón, who is also a “Trauma Instructor” at the American College, indicated that during the toughest period of the pandemic, where he was also in charge of coordinating health patrols in the region, he spent more than a year without have days off, which involved a “family sacrifice”, which has been able to remedy in recent months, after the end of the State of Emergency.
“I spent 13 months, 24 hours a day in charge of that, I didn’t have time for anything else. Only a couple of days of rest, quite intense, but despite that it was very nice because I had to mix the two activities at the same time, being a surgeon and a member of the Air Force, it really is a very perfect mix. Of course the family is sacrificed, but fortunately the pressure has already dropped”, concluded the specialist.
Dr. Arturo Guijón is the only official of the Puerto Montt Hospital to belong to the Chilean Air Force, a military institution that on March 21 celebrated its 92nd anniversary in charge of the national defense of the air and that during its existence has been capable of successfully unifying the most distant territories of our country, from Magallanes and Antarctica to Easter Island, also contributing to strengthening national sovereignty in a territory as large as Chile.