Health

“I am moved to help my patients with Multiple Sclerosis”

The specialist proudly holds the flag of education and visibility of the condition

Ángel Chinea, neurologist and creator of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. Photo: Archive of the Journal of Medicine and Public Health.

The vocation with which Dr. Ángel Chinea with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients has led him to become today the director of the Multiple Sclerosis Clinic in San Juan, which emerged after the country’s specialists observed the need on the Island for a place focused on serving this population due to the increase in the statistics of this neurological condition.

For the year 1999, the doctor Chinea received from a colleague who died, and from there he found that the figures reflected a significant prevalence in Puerto Rico.

The doctor Since then, Chinea knew that this was the way to go, so he dedicated himself to attending different congresses, taking different training sessions in various clinics in the United States, especially in Atlanta, where he shared with another colleague named Stuart, who He was one of his mentors.

The doctor Charles Poser, who is one of the first to create the initial criteria for Multiple Sclerosis, accompanied him in those first steps and helped him create the questionnaire to be able to make a record and helped him in the structural formation of what they already had as the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation.

Once they started with the clinic, the first center of sclerosis multiple sclerosis in Puerto Rico, they began to see the number of cases, which was increasing, but, a question that some colleagues asked him: “Dr. Chinea, why multiple sclerosis?”, to which the dedicated doctor had to stop and to think of all those patients for whom the diagnosis had begun, who had already had the condition for some time and had seen this deterioration, remembering that in the 1990s they did not have any treatment to stop the disease.

The only thing they had at that time was steroid drugs, so after the drugs arrived – or the first injectables – they began to see a control over the disease in these patients. There he learned the answer to the question he had been asked: “I am passionate about being able to control the disease in these patients, to see how I can alleviate the pain, the burden of the disease, which until then they had not been able to control.”

From there, they decided to continue doing different studies, evaluating above all the Hispanic population that, at that time and compared to the United States, did not have many studies, nor an organized registry. It was also not known what type of patients were in Puerto Rico with the condition of Multiple Sclerosis.

Today the doctor Chinea states that they can now speak clearly about what the characteristics of this population are, what the numbers are that they have in Puerto Rico, which are over the three thousand patients that have been registered. In San Juan, the clinic has more than 50% of patients. In that same space they have four rooms and each patient has a different story to tell and that “does move me”, he says the doctor“being able to understand each story of each patient and see how I can get into that story to be able to help him, that really moves me”.

They have also created an education program with one of the medical schools, seeing the need to be able to make an early diagnosis, in which they receive third and fourth year students and they learn how to interpret the stories of each patient, which makes “In the future, when they are already in an emergency room, in their office or in the hospital, they can understand that patient who is talking about chronic pain, fatigue, dizziness that prevents him from maintaining a balance,” he says. the doctor Chinese.

“If the patient has a motor deficit or a visual loss, these are things that can be measured… there are many things that move us, especially helping patients on that journey that, sometimes, can be very light and bearable or those who are severely affected (motricity),” says the expert.

What they most want is not only to do things because of what they observe, but to attend to the invisible symptoms, which are often the most disabling for the patient “and that does move me”, as the specialist reaffirms, “to help patients, helping family members, colleagues, caregivers and also moves me to educate the entire team that is part of the patient’s treatment, so education moves me a lot”, emphasizes the renowned doctor.

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