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29.01.2020 | main topic | Ausgabe 11-12/2020

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift 11-12/2020

The influence of neighbouring countries and sciences and the international spread of Viennese medicine: Carl Freiherr von Rokitansky’s international relations

Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift > Ausgabe 11-12/2020
Dr. med. Ursula Rokitansky-Tilscher
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The science-based Viennese School of Medicine arose from the collaboration between pathological anatomy and clinical medicine. The recognition of the clinical–pathological correlation enabled the Bohemian pathological anatomist Carl Rokitansky to describe the course of a disease and make a diagnosis. Rokitansky’s systematic classification and explanation of diseases, documented in the Manual of Pathological Anatomy, was published in several languages and thus led to medical specialisation in Vienna and beyond the borders of Austria. It also contributed to the Medical Faculty of the University of Vienna becoming an interdisciplinary centre of expertise that attracted students from all over the world. Rokitansky’s methodology was influenced by his early studies of the humanities in Prague. This article describes the impact of Rokitansky’s handbook using new sources from the Rokitansky family archive, focusing in particular on its international reception and the relationships that were formed as a result. The model of Viennese Medicine was transferred to universities abroad and implemented in new medical schools in Japan, Iran, Mexico, Greece and the USA that developed it further. Rokitansky’s international network contributed greatly to this transfer of knowledge as shown by newly-discovered source material from the Rokitansky family archive.

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