FATHERS OF MEDICINE*
Medicine is the science and art of healing.
It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. All human societies have medical beliefs that provide explanations for birth, death and disease. Throughout history, illness has been attributed to witchcraft, demons, adverse astral influence or the will of the gods.
Early records on medicine have been discovered from Egyptian medicine, Babylonian medicine, Ayurvedic medicine (in the Indian subcontinent), Classical Chinese medicine (predecessor to the modern Traditional Chinese Medicine), Ancient Greek medicine and Roman medicine.
The following are some of the "Fathers of Medicine" who have provided stepping stones that have led to the vast knowledge, which we have today, of the human body in health and disease.
The Father of Medicine
IMHOTEP (2667 - 2648 BC)
The Egyptian Imhotep was the first physician in history to be known by name. The earliest known (recorded) surgery was performed in Egypt around 2750 BC.
The Father of Western Medicine
HIPPOCRATES (460 - 370 BC)
Hippocrates was a Greek Physician of the Age of Pericles (classical Greece), and is considered one of the outstanding figures in the history of Medicine. He is called the Father of Western Medicine in recognition of his lasting contribution to the field as the founder of the Hippocratic School of Medicine. This intellectual school revolutionised medicine in Ancient Greece, establishing it as a discipline distinct from other fields that it had traditionally been associated with (notably theurgy and philosophy), and thus establishing medicine as a profession in its own right.
The Father of Eastern Medicine
CHANG CHUNG-CHING (168 - 196 AD)
Chang Chung-Ching is regarded as one of the great physicians of the Han dynasty (206BC-220AD), said to be "the most glorious period of Chinese medical history". He wrote Shang han lun (Treatise on Colds and Fevers). This work had a profound influence on Chinese medicine, and is considered to be the most important medical classic after Huang-ti Nei ching (the earliest Chinese medical writing, a famous classic, considered to be the bible of traditional Chinese medicine). Chang Chung-Ching is called the Hippocrates of China.
The Father of Blood Circulation
WILLIAM HARVEY (1578 – 1657)
William Harvey was an English physician. His first Doctorate of Medicine was gained at the University of Padua in 1602. Returning to England, he gained his second Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Cambridge. He was a keen anatomist, and was the first to describe completely, and in detail, the systemic circulation and properties of blood being pumped to the brain and the rest of the body by the heart. After his death, the William Harvey Hospital was constructed in the town of Ashford, several miles from his birthplace in Folkestone.
The Father of Microscopic Anatomy
MARCELLO MALPIGHI (1628 – 1694)
Marcello Malpighi was an Italian physician and biologist. He is regarded as the Father of microscopical anatomy. His name is linked to several physiological features related to the biological excretory system. The splenic lymphoid nodules are often called the "Malpighian bodies of the spleen".
The Father of Modern Surgery
JOHN HUNTER (1728 – 1793)
John Hunter was a Scottish surgeon, one of the most distinguished scientists and surgeons of his day. He was an expert in anatomy. He was an early advocate of careful observations and scientific method in medicine. He spent some years as an army surgeon. In 1764 he set up his own anatomy school in London.
The Father of Histology
MARIE FRANÇOIS XAVIER BICHAT (1771 – 1802)
Xavier Bichat was a French anatomist and physiologist who is best remembered as the father of modern histology and descriptive anatomy. Despite working without the microscope, he was the first to introduce the notion of tissues as distinct entities, and maintained that diseases attacked tissues rather than whole organs or the entire body, causing a revolution in anatomical pathology.
The Father of Endocrinology
THOMAS ADDISON (1793 – 1860)
Thomas Addison was an English physician and scientist. He is traditionally regarded as one of the "great men of Guy's Hospital, London". Among other pathologies, he discovered Addison's Disease, a degenerative disease of the adrenal glands, and Addisonian Anaemia, now known as Pernicious Anaemia.
The Father of Epidemiology
JOHN SNOW (1813 – 1858)
John Snow was an English physician and a leader in the adoption of anaesthesia and medical hygiene. He is regarded as the father of modern epidemiology, in part because of his work in tracing the cause and source of a cholera outbreak in Soho, London, in 1854. His findings inspired fundamental changes in the water and waste systems of London, which led to similar changes in other cities, and a significant improvement in general public health around the world.
The Father of Modern Physiology and Experimental Medicine
CLAUDE BARNARD (1813 – 1878)
Claude Barnard was a French physiologist and scientist. He was the founder of modern experimental physiology and is said to be "one of the greatest men of science". He was the first to suggest the use of blind experiments to ensure the objectivity of scientific observations. He was also the first to define milieu intérieur, now known as homeostasis.
The Father of Modern Pathology
RUDOLF VIRCHOW (1821 – 1902)
Rudolf Virchow was a German doctor, anthropologist and pathologist. He was known for his advancement of public health. He is regarded as the father of modern pathology because his work helped to discredit humorism, bringing more science into medicine. He was also one of the founders of social medicine.
The Father of Antiseptic Surgery
JOSEPH LISTER (1827 – 1912)
Sir Joseph Lister was a British surgeon and a pioneer of antiseptic surgery. By applying Louis Pasteur's advances in microbiology, he promoted the idea of sterile surgery. He successfully introduced carbolic acid (now known as phenol) to sterilise surgical instruments and to clean wounds, resulting in a significant drop in post-operative infection, and made surgery safer for patients.
The Father of Bacteriology
ROBERT KOCH (1843 – 1910)
Robert Koch was a German physician and pioneering microbiologist. He is the founder of modern bacteriology and is known for his role in identifying the specific causative agents of tuberculosis, cholera and anthrax, and for giving experimental support for the concept of infectious disease. His research led to the creation of Koch's postulates, a series of four generalised principles linking specific micro-organisms to specific diseases. Koch's postulates are still the "gold standard" in medical microbiology.
The Father of Modern Medicine
WILLIAM OSLER (1849 – 1919)
Sir William Osler was a Canadian physician. He was one of the four founding professors of John's Hopkins Hospital. He created the first residency program for speciality training for physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training.
The Father of Conditioned Reflexes
IVAN PAVLOV (1849 – 1936)
Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist known for his work in classical conditioning. In 1870 he enrolled in the physics and mathematics faculty at the University of Saint Petersburg to take the course in natural science. He devoted his life to the study of psychology and the sciences. Pavlov and the results with his conditioning experiments of dogs have been taught worldwide.
The Father of Psychoanalysis
SIGMUND FREUD (1856 – 1939)
Sigmund Freud was an Austrian neurologist and the founding father of psychoanalysis. In creating psychoanalysis, a clinical method for treating psychopathology through dialogue between a patient and a psychoanalyst, he developed therapeutic techniques such as the use of free association and discovered transference, establishing its central role in the analytic process.
*Copyright 2014: The Huntly Centre.
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