1902 Encyclopedia > Medicine > German Medicine from 1800 to 1840

(Part 38)

German Medicine from 1800 to 1840

Of the other countries of Europe, it is now only necessary to mention countries of Europe, it is now only necessary to mention Germany. Here the chief home of positive medicine was still for a long time Vienna, where the "new Vienna school" continued and surpassed the glory of the old. Joseph Skoda (born 1805) extended, and in some respects corrected, the art of auscultation as left by Laennec. Karl Rokitasnsky (1804-1878), by his colossal labours, placed the science of morbid anatomy on a permanent basis, and enriched it by numerous discoveries of detail. Most of the ardent cultivators of this science in Germany in the next generation were his pupils. In the other German schools, though some great names might be found, as Romberg (1795-1873)m the founder of the modern era in the study of nervous diseases, the general spirit was scholastic and the result barren, till the teaching of one man, whom the modern German physicians generally regard as the regenerator of scientific medicine in their country, made itself felt. Johann Lucas Schönleiu (1793-1864) was first professor at Würzburg, afterwards at Zurich, and for twenty years at Berlin (from 1839-1859). Schönlein’s positive contributions to medical science were not large; but he made in 1839 one discovery, apparently small, but in reality most suggestive, namely, that the contagious disease of the head called favus is produced by the growth in the hair of a parasitic fungus. In this may be found the germ of the startling modern discoveries in parasitic diseases. His systematic doctrines founded the so-called "natural history school;" but his real merit was that of the founder or introducer of method. In the words of Haeser, "Schönlein has the incontestable merit of having been the first to establish in Germany the exact method of the French and the English, and to impregnate this method with the vivifying spirit of German research." The name of Schönlein thus brings us to the threshold of the modern German school of medicine, -- the most scientific and exact in Europe, and in its spirit strikingly in contrast with the theoretical subtlety of German systematists in the last century.

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