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Doctor Cicerone Postelnicu--a legendary figure from "Socola".

The psychiatrist has to be aware of his role in the community. Thus a thorough psychiatric and medical training, both theoretical and practical, is absolutely necessary. Also, this preparation has to be sustained by the knowledge of some inner mechanisms. These mechanisms result from a rich experience that cannot be found in books and they are transmitted only from generation to generation.

Due to this, advisers are absolutely necessary near a young doctor, and Doctor Postelnicu did embody that kind of a role model that could influence a young enthusiast in discovering this profession.

I met Doctor Postelnicu with the help of Professor Ghiorghe Talau during the Psychiatric National Conference in Timisoara, in 2002. Doctor Talau depicted me the general mood in "Socola" Hospital during the 80's as being a very favourable one and I was touched by the human and professional quality of the medical and didactic staff of the "Socola" Hospital. Professor Talau related about the actions, attitudes, the moral and the professional conduct of several exceptional teachers and doctors who influenced him greatly in his instruction as a well-trained psychiatrist. They would always remain reference points in his career.

I was touched by the efforts of this generation of psychiatrists who never gave up high standards. This is why I became interested in closely knowing a member of this generation, Doctor Postelnicu.

As far as I am concerned, the emotional impact was a very strong one because as a young aspirant for professional fame and success, I was face to face with a truly master of the field, a man who had managed for many years to be a true expert. I felt this first meeting as being influential for the start of my career because it was very important for me to understand from the look of the psychiatrist in front of me whether he would confirm my complete becoming as a psychiatrist.

Despite of the huge position gap and, as a consequence, it was normal from my behalf to feel a certain pressure, still this it had not happened even though it was expected and despite of a rigid look he had a positive attitude, benevolent, fatherly, not judgemental or condescending.

Leaving aside his character, as perceived after the meeting during that evening, I had in front of me the image of a kind person, calm, grave, very educated, but speaking using a simple language, without any formal "stylistic" language, with determination when speaking about not so praiseworthy sides of psychiatry. Another important thing I noticed during my first encounter with Doctor Postelnicu was his ongoing interest in psychiatric complex issues: both its theoretic grounds, but even more its current praxis and also the future of Romanian psychiatry.

I felt also a strong emotional vibe related to his origins. Coming from Oltenia (his birthplace is Dragasani), he felt the need to strongly say his belonging to Oltenia, to underline the positive sides of people from Oltenia and to express certain nostalgia because of leaving those places. Thus, meeting a son, or a daughter of Oltenia was a moment of a true fulfilment because he would nourish himself by their presence, reliving the joy of remembering his birthplace (including childhood, loved ones, important moments, expectations, youth's hopes, ability affirmation and so on). He tried, also, to bring such joy in the heart of the other by setting something like of "an alliance amongst people coming from Oltenia".

Also, he spoke with great consideration and gratefulness about Moldova and about people coming from Moldova. In my opinion a proof of this respect is that he knew in great detail the history of Moldova. Related to this, an even greater proof was the fact that he felt very comfortable amongst people from Moldova. He used to say that he had very dear friends and that he enjoyed a fulfilled life in Iasi near his family, friends and near the profession that he loved.

What amazed me was that despite of being long aged he would act with great energy and full of joy in the scientific and social realm created by these conferences!

He was an alert listener of all the papers (he took place at every scientific session) which he would assess pertinently, still, everything without partiality, or negative attitude. Moreover, he would praise the initiative and the good aspects of the paper, also, underling the lacks of those works. Many times he used to be, also, a lecturer. He used to speak about issues that were of a great scientific interest and that he would present with high seriousness and responsibility, in a thorough and highly documented manner. Every time he had the opportunity, he would speak about colleagues or forerunners from "Socola" expressing a dignified respect, preparing that presentation with his entire skill as a speech man and also his human and collegial qualities, an expert in the field of psychiatry.

We started a correspondence in which he spoke about his views on psychiatry. This was also an opportunity for me to form my own vision on this field, but, also, to get in touch with other views of those who had been dedicated to this fascinating field of medical science.

Another instructive way was that of making me aware of the importance of knowing psychopathology. Related to this he would inform me about the publishing of relevant books on psychiatry. His insistence on this is relevant due to the fact that he felt the danger of misrepresentation of psychiatry in the books of classification and of diagnosis DSM-IV and ICD 10. Also he noticed that psychiatric research went astray toward one direction, that of neurobiology and psychopharmacology.

Related to this, what I value very much about Doctor Postelnicu are his efforts of teaching the others. I am sure that he had, beside me, many other apprentices beforehand being restless in sharing thoughts, ideas, teachings gathered during an extremely rich professional life. Also, in talks among colleagues, he would often stand out having a rich, exceptional, wisdom. He was always able to assert opinions in various fields of interest, such as: art, culture, history, geography and so on. Consequently, he inspired the life of a group. He managed to start precious friendships and to keep close ones.

During one ordinary day of 2008, I was announced that Doctor Postelnicu died, in his sleep. Thus, an easy and calm death which hadn't caused previous pain, but that took away from us, untimely, without any serious prior sign, in a moment that he had a rich intellectual activity and even psychiatric praxis.

I have to confess that, since then, I miss the calming presence of the doctor in my life. The trips to Iasi are more drabbing, and I feel that the places of our meetings are now more painful remembering with nostalgia old times.

Psychiatry and "Socola" Hospital lost both a valuable man, a representative of an outstanding generation of psychiatrists. Romanian psychiatry will always consecrate pages of history to several valuable doctors, as: Prof. Branzei, Prof. Pirojinski, Prof. Selaru, Dr. Gotlieb and so on. Most of them I did not know, still the encounter with Doctor Postelnicu made me feel the "atmosphere" of those times, to understand the importance of knowing our history, the importance of being possible to be according to the role models.

It is inevitable for a generation not to change in an accidental way. The main ideas in psychiatry are related to the general scientific context, still what has to constantly remain is the good instruction, the responsibility, the devotion towards the profession of those who work in this field. Meaning, everything that characterized both the professional and private life of Doctor Postelnicu.

Doctor's Postelnicu teachings are next to those of many other people that have shaped my professional life and to whom I express a great gratitude. These people that teach young doctors, in an institution or voluntarily, deserve constant gratitude and remembrance from those that have grown under the guidance of these strong people, that have a developed sense of responsibility, with the awareness of fulfilling a mission given by their own destiny.

Doctor Postelnicu was an inspiration for me as far as feeling and practicing psychiatry as a true profession. I will always remember him as an enlighten image, spotless and I remain promising to be a disciple that has learned her lesson.

Lavinia DUICA--M. D., Ph. D., Senior Psychiatrist, Lecturer, "Lucian Blaga" University Sibiu, Romania
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Author:Duica, Lavinia
Publication:Bulletin of Integrative Psychiatry
Article Type:In memoriam
Geographic Code:4EXRO
Date:Dec 1, 2015
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