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Doctors and patients paid emotional tribute Tuesday to the late Dr. Eduardo Bernabe Ordaz Ducunge, who radically altered psychiatric care in Cuba, a labor recognized in Latin America and the rest of the world.

Precisely on January 9, but in 1959, a day after the Cuban revolutionary army entered Havana, Commander Ordaz was entrusted with the charge of the then Mazorra Hospital by Fidel Castro.

Cuban President Fidel Castro referred to the conditions existing at that time as "Dante s Inferno" or "a warehouse for sick people," in a place where there were no mattresses, brutal methods were applied on the patients and criminals mixed in with them, and survival of the fittest reigned.

The intense labor of this physician, with no prior experience in assisting psychiatric patients, turned that "hell" into "a garden of hope," as expressed by Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez.

He introduced rehabilitation, psychology, dance therapy, health information, natural and traditional medicine as well as a day hospital, a surgery, a beauty salon and barber shop and an ecumenical church for the patients and their families.

The tribute paid to Ordaz, who died in May after leading the now renamed Comandante Doctor Eduardo Bernabe Ordaz Ducunge Hospital for 44 years, was led by the present director Dr. Lorenzo Somarriba Lopez on the eve of the 48th Scientific Anniversary, which will last until January 12.

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