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The European Journal of Psychiatry

versión impresa ISSN 0213-6163

Eur. J. Psychiat. vol.22 no.1 Zaragoza ene./mar. 2008




Maximino Lozano, M.D., Ph.D. 1948-2007

Chief, Section on Liaison Psychiatry, Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal, Madrid.

Profesor Asociado, Faculty of Medicine, University of Alcalá de Henares


It is with regret that I am writing the obituary of Dr. Maximino Lozano. He died in Madrid last November, after severe complications of a cruel medical illness. He was a man of significant hospital and academic achievements, a devoted physician, compassionate with patients, important support for colleagues and respected mentor for disciples, a real gentleman in life. His wife, Cristina, and two children, a daughter and a son, survive him.

Dr. Lozano, was born in Zamora, a Castilian city in the North-West of Spain. He qualified for his M.D. degree at the Faculty of Medicine of Salamanca, and then concluded his Doctoral Thesis and qualified for his Ph.D. degree, awarded summa cum laude at the same University. He trained in psychiatry in Madrid, at the Hospital Universitario Gregorio Marañón, and then joined the staff of the Hospital Universitario Ramón y Cajal in the same city. There he developed his main professional activity, in the Liaison Psychiatry Section. He was appointed Chief in 1995 and in this position, by unanimous criteria, established a firm reputation, both clinical and academic, as one of the foremost liaison psychiatrists in Spain, and a pioneer in the field. His academic interest soon led him to join the University of Alcalá de Henares, also in Madrid, where he realized outstanding work both at the pre-graduate and post-graduate level.

He was part of the generation of Spanish psychiatrists that made possible the introduction and consolidation of psychiatric services in general hospitals in the National Health System, a very important and rather recent achievement. Furthermore, he was a leader in the design and development of Liaison Psychiatry in Spain. It is in this setting of common interest that I met Dr. Lozano, Maxi for all friends and colleagues. While I was aware of his reputation before, I soon realised that he was a great professional but also an extraordinary friend. His work in the field has been extremely important in this country, and was eventually appointed President of the Sociedad Española de Medicina Psicosomática (SEMP). He also contributed to the foundation of the European Association for Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatics (EACLPP), and was a leading member in the Spanish team. Also of great importance was his contribution to the Spanish Network for research in Liaison Psychiatry and Psychosomatics(REPEP), from the Institute of Health Carlos III, one of the most important research initiatives in the field in this country.

Dr. Lozano has been known as a professional with solid common sense. He was a clinician of the traditional school, who painstakingly collected information and made thorough observations of his own cases before drawing shrewd judgements. Although statistics have become far more sophisticated, the conclusions of his studies may be the foundation stone on which relevant work in liaison psychiatry will rest. Dr. Lozano was the author of a considerable number of papers and specialized reports, mainly books and monographs. His interests covered almost the whole of the field, but perhaps his main expertise was related to psychiatric aspects in cardiological patients. He also served on the editorial committees of several journals, as well as in expert groups that have laid the developmental lines of psychiatry in this country.

Few, perhaps, will associate his name with the ideas and findings they handle daily, since Maxi had not an ounce of pomposity or self-importance about his person. However, he should certainly be remembered for being the one who coined the term Psychosomatic Psychiatry in the international literature. He always felt the term "liaison psychiatry" had no clinical appeal. While initially remained aloof from controversies surrounding the nomenclature of the discipline, he felt "the name was not unimportant", and eventually defended the new denomination vigorously in international editorials and papers. I know of this enthusiasm, since I have had the honour to join him in the proposal.

Maxi will certainly be remembered by his residents and trainees. He is specially recognized for his work as Director of the Residency Training Program (MIR) in Psychiatry at the Hospital Ramón y Cajal. By all standards, in this hospital, one of the most coveted in Spain for psychiatric training, he is considered an extraordinary mentor of more than 25 promotions of young psychiatrists. Many of them presently hold relevant positions in academic psychiatry in Spain and, for this reason, Dr Lozano is considered to be one of the most influential psychiatrists when we look at the progress of the speciality in this country.

Dr. Lozano's achievements were only possible because of the commitment and passion to his work that he made compatible with an intense family life. He was a solid man, and a professional with high standards, and this set the tone for how he coped with his illness. He underwent surgery several times during his last year, but was able to keep in high spirits as soon as the complications of his painful illness subsided. Although he was fully aware of the severity of the illness, he was in fact intensely preparing his participation in the last EACLPP meeting when he eventually had to surrender. That was the professional man, an example for physicians and psychiatrists in training.

Maxi Lozano had a somewhat Castilian austerity, but this was a perception only for those who never took his proper measure. When he was relaxed he could show a good sense of humour, larded with puns, and completely lacking cruelty. He was always ready to help and was sympathetic with other professionals. He was very natural and tolerant, and it was this personal side of Maxi, together with his elegance, and his friendly sense of humour which made him a good and respected friend for a great number of colleagues. Many of us who worked closely with him, and got to know him a little better than the ordinary colleague, cherished a deep affection for him which he would probably have found embarrassing had it been displayed.

He was a very kind man, but not the one who drops his standards in favour of small talk niceties. I remember he was one of the few to stand up courageously in public, although in a very elegant and diplomatic way, to condemn some outrageous decision of influential and powerful men in academic psychiatry in Spain. It is in this context that the feeling of enormous sadness and void observed among colleagues may be understood. We also feel perplexed about his premature death, although most of us knew the severity of his illness.

Maxi was able to combine his commitment to patients and the professional life with the intense cultural interests and hobbies of the humanistic physician he was, in the best tradition of physicians in his country. He enjoyed an intense family life with his wife and children, and his devotion was obvious during his final days. The support of his family was crucial until the end, when he was able to die as he always lived: with dignity, alert, serene, facing the inevitable with strength and his natural elegance. He was able to prepare his funeral in such a way that no inconvenience would emerge for his family or his friends and colleagues.

In short, Maxi Lozano was a great psychiatrist and a great human being. Spanish psychiatry has lost an outstanding physician and scientist, an excellent ambassador of his hometown Zamora. We shall miss his work, his wisdom and his wit, but he lives on in us because we have absorbed so much from him. All his friends and colleagues in his Psychosomatic Psychiatry, stimulated by his example, will honour him and try to maintain his high professional and personal standards.


Antonio Lobo

Editor-in-Chief, European Journal of Psychiatry. Professor and Chairman. Departamento de Psiquiatría.
Facultad de Medicina and Hospital Clínico Universitario Zaragoza, Spain

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