Portugal received twenty TSS surgeons – a record at that time – in Lisbon in 1957, shortly after a visit by Queen Elizabeth the Second. First an operating list was seen at the Hospital Do Desterro, then an international exhibition of X-Ray equipment was inspected at the School of Engineering. This included the pioneer work of Moniz (on the brain), Reynaldo dos Santos (peripheral vascular tree), de Carralho (lungs), Monterro (lymphatics) and Cid dos Santos (veins).
The latter – a big man with pebble glasses, a splendid sense of humour and excellent command of English – did an operating list at the Santa Maria Hospital. He favoured a para-rectal rather than lateral approach to lumbar sympathectomy, which he termed “the operation of the house”. The 354-bedded Tumour Institute treated 600 patients a day. Here members met Professor Gentil, appointed in 1912 and still operating at the age of 79.
The 1971 visit to Lisbon had to be postponed until the autumn following the sudden death of Professor Lima Basto, who had the arrangements in hand, and in the event the visit was somewhat spartan though it was the first time the Society used a package deal, now standard practice.
The Society returned in 1996, again visiting the Santa Maria Hospital but also the historic Santa Marta – within walking distance of the hotel – with its cardiovascular commitment, and the new privately-financed Fernando Fonseca Hospital, off the dual carriageway to Sintra, where the head of surgery was liver transplanter Professor Eduardo Barroso. The hospital was named after a Lisboëtan chest physician who had treated the Armenian billionaire Calouste Gulbenkian for TB, for which Lisbon was rewarded generously.