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Mutual influences in the development of pathology and medicine in Austria and Turkey

  • Paksoy, Nadir1
  • 1 Cytopathology/FNA Private Practice. Hürriyet Cad: 127/17, Izmit, Kocaeli, 41300, Turkey , Izmit (Turkey)
Published Article
Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift
Springer Vienna
Publication Date
Mar 12, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s10354-020-00743-4
Springer Nature


The Imperial Medical School (Mektebi Tibbiye‑i Şahane), established in Istanbul in 1839 as the first medical school, in the Western sense, took the Josephinum Military Medical Academy in Vienna as an example, and this led to a period of flourishing in terms of Austrian–Turkish medical relationships. Dr. Karl Ambros Bernard, Dr. Jacob Anton Neuer and pharmacist Jacob Hoffmann came to Istanbul in 1938 with the support of Prince Metternich, the Prime Minister of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time, and the recommendation of the private physician of the prince, a famous ophthalmologist at the University of Vienna. Subsequently, Sigmund Spitzer, who was a professor of anatomy at the University of Vienna, came to Istanbul as well. Through the efforts of Bernard and Spitzer, the new Ottoman sultan, Abdülmecid, granted authorization for the use of cadavers and autopsies for the first time in 1841, though only of Christian prisoners who had died in prison. Prof. Hyrtl, from the Medical School of Vienna, sent educational materials from his own collection for use in anatomy education. A botanist named Noe as well as Dr. Wachbicher and Prof. Lorenz Rigler also came to Istanbul. Wachbicher and Rigler worked at the school of medicine and the military hospital. This period, spanning 1839–1856, was a critical period in the Westernization of Turkish medicine. After Metternich, the Austrian government stopped sending physicians to Istanbul to assist the medical school. However, many physicians from the Austro-Hungarian Empire served in the Ottoman army until World War I. Atatürk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, carried out a reform of the university system in 1933. Many scientists of Jewish origin who had escaped from Nazi oppression and many anti-Nazi German and Austrian scientists came to Turkey. An ENT professor named Erich Ruttin and a professor of radiology named Dr. Max Sgalitzer worked at Istanbul Medical School.

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