From a refugee health centre to Brussels: Pietro Bartolo now has two constituenciesBMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5306 (Published 04 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5306
- Marta Paterlini, freelance journalist, Stockholm, Sweden
Why did you decide to move from frontline care to the offices of the European parliament?
Simply, because I want to change the sensibility of Europe towards the migration phenomenon. I nurtured the idea after having spent years talking about the drama experienced by those people through films, books, and lectures and opposing the anti-migrant rhetoric. It was not enough.
I want to be sure that people stop seeing migration as a problem. Migration is a phenomenon that occurs among animals too. We all migrate to where we are better off.
I now spend four days a week in Brussels, but every weekend I travel back to Lampedusa. There, I go back to my usual routine of providing care to people on the island. I miss my island very much, but from September I will stay in Brussels on a more permanent basis.
What does it mean being a doctor to migrants in Lampedusa?
You will never hear me talk about migrants but about human beings. From 1988, I was the doctor responsible for everybody on Lampedusa’s soil. In 1991, the first three people emerged from the sea on a small vessel. Since then, we have witnessed a continuous …