Paulina Oliva

Coordinator of the Brain Injury Unit at the Beata María Ana Hospital

I have been working in this Unit since July 2004. Initially, I worked part-time, only practising as a rehabilitation doctor at what was then the out-patients unit. The new Unit had already been built, where in addition to out-patients there was to be a hospital floor for patients with brain damage, which, at the time, was all coordinated by Dr. Juan Manuel Muñoz-Céspedes, the true driving force behind the progress of this project. Gradually we grew both in terms of the number of patients and professionals, and I  started to work full-time because I understood that caring for these patients was a full-time job and required greater availability. I am currently the coordinator of the entire unit and I continue to perform duties as a rehabilitation doctor because I do not want to give up the contact with patients and their families.

This job has given me, and continues to give me, a lot at both a professional and a personal level. Working in a unit of these characteristics forces you and enables you to bring your knowledge up to date due to the fact that each patient is different and new theories and new data concerning brain injury are continually emerging. When I began my career in this Unit, I had just finished my training as a rehabilitation doctor and although I was very excited, I had many doubts about whether I would be capable of tackling this challenge. Over the years, and seeing what the team has achieved, that excitement has remained and the fears, although always there, are disappearing. I can now say that it is a real pleasure to work with such professional people who have a genuine vocation for their work; likewise it gives me such satisfaction to see how, with the effort of all of the professionals and of their families, in the majority of cases the patients succeed in achieving many of the goals set.

University education

– Graduated in Medicine and Surgery from Seville University, 1992-1998
– Boarder at the Paediatrics Department, 1996-1998
– Doctorate programme: Paediatric Updates Seville University, 1999 – 2000
– Doctor specialising in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation via MIR. Internal Resident Doctor on the Rehabilitation Service at the La Paz Hospital (Madrid) 2000-2004
– Masters in Assessment of Disability and Physical Injury. Autonomous University of Madrid, 2003-2004

Non-university education

•    XIth Course on the theory and practice of electrotherapy and electrodiagnosis, Río Ortega Hospital (Valladolid), 2001
•    Botulinum Toxin Workshop. La Coruña, 2001
•    Assessment and progress in the treatment of osteoporosis. Royal Academy of Medicine, Madrid, 2002
•    Orthopaedic and manual medicine. Torremolinos, Malaga,  2002
•    Assessment of Physical Injury in the Locomotor System, Ramón y Cajal Hospital, Madrid, 2002
•    Botulinum Toxin. La Paz Hospital, Madrid, 2002
•    Neuropathic pain. National Plan for teaching and training techniques and treatment of pain. Ramón y Cajal Hospital. Madrid, 2002
•    Training conference on consequences of Meningococcal Sepsis. La Paz Hospital. Madrid, 2003
•    Basic course on psychiatric disorders and psychopharmacology in brain injury. CEADAC, Madrid, 2005
•    Course on the selection and use of inthratecal baclofen in patients with severe spasticity. Guttmann Institute. Barcelona, 2006
•    Course on Comprehensive Treatment of Spasticity: A multidisciplinary approach. Madrid, 2010
•    Course on Nutrition and Cognitive Function. Gregorio Marañón University Hospital. Madrid 2011


•    What is a coma? Family guide. FEDACE, 2004
•    Criteria for hospital discharge. Family guide. FEDACE, 2004

Research activity

•    Communication: Peculiarities of Guillain–Barré syndrome in infants. XXXIXth Conference of the Spanish Society for Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine. Granada, 2001
•    Clinical session: Anti-inflammatories and anti-spastics used in rehabilitation. La Paz Hospital. Madrid, 2001
•    Oral communication: Methods for acting in the event of respiratory complications in patients with spinal injuries. Bibliographical Review. La Coruña, 2001
•    Clinical session: Restorative phisiology and physiopathology of different tissues. Healing and its complications. La Paz Hospital. Madrid, 2002
•    Communication: Lymphedema: Definition, Diagnosis and Treatment. Meeting of the Central Society of Rehabilitation and Physical Medicine. Madrid, 2003
•    Communication: Lymphedema: Effectiveness of Physical Therapeutics in its Treatment. XLIth SERMEF National Conference, Santander, 2003
•    Communication: Lymphedema: Study concerning its Etiology. XLIth SERMEF National Conference. Santander, 2003
•    Communication: Analysis of the scientific journals which have had the biggest impact in 2003. XLIIth SERMEF National Conference, La Coruña, 2004
•    Communication: Presentation of the BIU Beata María Ana Hospital. Medical Association. Madrid, 2007
•    Communication: physical treatment of spasticity. Beata María Ana Hospital, 2010
•    Participation in courses for families run at the Brain Injury Unit of the Beata María Ana Hospital in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2010 and 2011
•    Project to restore plegic upper limb using automated system. Currently in progress. Scheduled to finish in the first quarter of 2012.

Professional experience

•    Rehabilitation doctor at Sanitas Clinic. Madrid, 2004

•    Coordinator of the Brain Injury Unit at the Beata María Ana Hospital. With management responsibility for the unit, I am responsible for a team of 26 people, and a volume of 19 in-patients and 60 out-patients. I practise my clinical activity as a rehabilitation doctor of the said unit and am also a member of the training committee and the grants committee. From July 2004 to the present time.


•    English
•    German


I like to devote my free time to my family and friends; my children take up most of that time. Meanwhile, I am an avid reader, particularly of books which have a historical background, and I also try to take a trip abroad every year, since exploring other countries and cultures is one of my greatest interests.