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Rafael Esteve de Miguel was born in Huesca on 23 March 1924 and studied Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine in Barcelona. At the end of his degree course he was awarded the Extraordinary Degree Prize and won a surgical internship place through open competition.

foto02He then decided to train in Orthopaedic Surgery which, like other specialist areas, had not yet achieved its due recognition in Spain. In certain European countries and in North America, the process of independent specialization was much more advanced. He managed to be accepted as a Stager Etranger at the Faculty of Medicine in Paris under the service of Professor Merle d’Aubigne at the new Hôpital Cochin. While there, he realised that the specialist area of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology was more advanced in Great Britain than in other nations on this side of the Atlantic, probably because it had been separated from General Surgery many years earlier. This was also demonstrated by the growing number of doctors from other European countries working in British hospitals to learn or hone their skills. Even French surgeons were doing the same.

In August 1949 he was accepted on a scholarship at Oxford University as a student of the recently-created Orthopaedic Surgery Service headed by Josep Trueta, where he was involved in intensive clinical work supported by research in numerous fields in this specialist area, which became the most prestigious in England. Later on he won a place as Senior House Surgeon. One of the outcomes of those Oxford years was his Doctorate. Josep Trueta directed his dissertation defence at Oxford, which was entitled “A study of muscle paralysis, autonomic disorders and nutritional disturbances in poliomyelitis”. He obtained his DPhil (Oxon) degree and continued to be a Life Member of Oxford University.

foto01He managed to combine his medical and research work at the same time in both Oxford and Barcelona and on one of his numerous trips to the Catalan capital, in July 1950, he opened his own clinic, Centro Esteve de Miguel. He also worked as the Director of the Traumatology Service at the Infectious Diseases Hospital, now the Hospital del Mar, until 1965, being primarily responsible for the treatment of the post-poliomyelitis syndrome. He soon combined this with the management of the Orthopaedic Surgery Service at the Hospital of Sant Joan de Déu, and from 1959 of the Hospital of Sant Rafael in Barcelona, where he also worked as Medical Director for 10 years.

From these centres he created his own school of practice, training numerous students. Many people owe the improvement in their quality of life to these doctors. He was a member and president of many associations both in Spain and overseas. The Autonomous University of Barcelona recognised his merit by appointing him as a tenured professor of surgery.

He was appointed as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Barcelona in 1982 and was the Spanish representative of the International Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology, SICOT, from 1987 to 1990.

His son Carlos was born on Vía Augusta in Barcelona on 26 February 1956 in the family’s home right above the clinic. There followed many years of intensive activity in that clinic, which Rafael combined with his hospital duties.

foto03Given the proximity of his home to the clinic, Carlos spent many hours in his father’s consultancy from a very early age. He also used to accompany him on visits to the hospitals where he worked. He was attracted to medicine very quickly, especially the care of patients with locomotor system disorders.

Carlos studied his COU and Baccalaureate at the La Salle Bonanova school in Barcelona, proving to be a dedicated and industrious student.

In 1974, at the age of 18, he embarked on a degree course in Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Barcelona, graduating in 1979. He followed this by specializing in Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology under Professor Francisco Gomar at the Hospital Clínico of Valencia.
Having obtained his degree as a specialist, he was taken on as a resident intern by the Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology Service at the Hospital of San Rafael in Barcelona, combining this with private consultancy work at Centro Esteve de Miguel.

In 1992, after a period of scientific research on his doctoral dissertation entitled “Idiopathic scoliosis in the first three years of life,” he graduated as Doctor “Cum Laude” in Medicine and Surgery from the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

In January 1993 he was appointed as Academic Correspondent of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Barcelona. Since then he has been appointed as a member of numerous scientific associations, including the Spanish Society of Orthopaedic Surgery (SECOT) and the Catalan Society of Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology (SCCOT), and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Spanish Society of Sports Traumatology (SETRADE).

In 1987 he was elected as a member of the International Society of Surgery and Traumatology (SICOT). In 2007 he was appointed as a member of the Board of Directors of the European Federation of Orthopaedics and Sports Traumatology (EFOST), a position he still holds today. He is also an honorary member of the Spanish Society of Spine Specialists (GEER).

Carlos Esteve de Miguel worked until 1994 in the Orthopaedic Surgery and Traumatology Service of the Hospital of San Rafael, reaching the position of Clinical Chief. He also spent time training at various prestigious hospitals and medical centres such as the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre in Oxford, the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London, the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and the Jackson Memorial Medical Center in Miami.

Since 1979 he has worked at Centro Esteve de Miguel in Barcelona, of which he currently the Director.

Rafael Esteve de Miguel passed away in Barcelona on 20 March 2013 at the age of 89.

During its 67 years of life, Centro Esteve de Miguel has conducted very intensive scientific work alongside its medical practice, the result of which are a wealth of articles and papers that have been published in hundreds of publications and national and foreign journals. Of particular interest is an article published in 1987 in the journal of the Royal Academy of Medicine of Barcelona, written by both Rafael and Carlos Esteve de Miguel, on the subject of Scheuermann’s disease, a little-known form of childhood hyperkyphosis, which for many years and still today is the journal’s most frequently referred-to article.

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