09 May 2020

Doctors and coffee

Article written by Michele Sergio and published in Rome on March 29, 2020

The weeks we are experiencing in Italy are difficult. The most difficult since the Second World War. We have never had to face a health and epidemiological emergency like the one in progress; never many infected and deaths cause a viral infection. Every serious emergency has its heroes, “normal” people who stand out for their commitment and value, who put themselves and their work at the disposal of others, sacrificing themselves for the good of the community. The sad coronavirus affair has brought doctors, nurses and all health workers on the shields who, putting passion and a spirit of service before their own health, have been courageously pursuing the hard battle against the disease for weeks now. It is interesting, as well as necessary, to give space to our white-coat angels here too, so that they may receive the affection, warmth and gratitude of the rest of us who, confined to the house, have entrusted them with the arduous task of fighting at the front. at the front, because, unfortunately, we are at war. We then wanted to interview a doctor, a young doctor of Neapolitan origins, on the front line in Lombardy against Covid19, also to understand, in tone with this space, what is the relationship between a heavily engaged doctor and coffee.

  1. D) Doctor Luisa Di Mare good morning and thank you for accepting the interview. Would you like to tell us something about your private life and how your love for this profession began, your beginnings?
  2. A) I was born in Naples even though for my family needs I spent my youth in Calabria in a small town in the province of Cosenza. When I turned 18 I moved to Rome to attend the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery at the “Sapienza” University. I graduated with honors at 24 years old. I began my specialization in Diagnostic Imaging, also in Rome, at the Umberto I Hospital. After completing the five-year course of study, I worked as a freelancer in Rome in different clinics and private studies until I passed the public competition for medical director and radiodiagnostics at the Asst Bergamo Est; I have been working here since January 2017. I chose to become a doctor not only for family inspiration – my mother Teresa is a midwife – but also because it seemed to me a means of “making myself useful” in society.


  1. Q) What does it mean to be a doctor at the time of the coronavirus?
  2. A) It was something unexpected. At the beginning of February 2020 there was a bit of confusion because we were not prepared to face an emergency of such proportions: not only for 100 years had we not witnessed such a pandemic but we also faced a virus in some ways unknown. Some patients admitted to the Radiology department on an outpatient and emergency basis were unknowingly a source of contagion as they were asymptomatic or paucisymptomatic positive. No particular protection procedures were adopted. Obviously the events have overwhelmed us and in the short time we have organized ourselves better by resorting to shelters with adequate measures for our protection and adequate care of patients. Now we are in the acute phase of the pandemic and the structure for which work has been completely adapted to lose Covid patients. I never expected anything like this. As a doctor I am shocked, I have experienced moments of despair and of great pain and a sense of “helplessness” for the large number of deaths. Today we finally begin to see a glimmer of hope and we are all confident in solving the problem.


  1. D) How will the epidemic develop? What are we learning?
  2. R) Surely isolation is a good contagion containment strategy together with the identification of as many positives as possible. Obviously it will take time to return to normal; probably between May and June. At the end of all each of us will change its scale of priorities. Nothing will be postponed: we have the transience of life before our eyes. This period of isolation has perhaps helped us to remember that the most important thing is the care of human relationships.


  1. Q) How important is coffee for a doctor? What is coffee for you? Do you have any memories, anecdotes, related to coffee?
  2. A) I have the first coffee I drank in my life. He was with my father, I was about 10 years old and he had come to pick me up at the conservatory. He said “let’s do a nice thing but don’t tell mom”. He took me to a bar and we ordered two macchiato. It was an exciting moment, I felt “great”. I still remember the coffee I drank: it was a long cold macchiato. Afterwards, coffee was my study partner, the natural help to keep me active and better to face the books. Furthermore, coffee has always been (and still is) my favorite