“The Appointment of the Chair for the History of Medicine and the Repetition of History”

The Chair for the History of Medicine is newly appointed. When ordering, history repeats itself.

Although, according to Herodotus, history never exactly repeats itself – one never steps into the same river – it does sometimes repeat itself, according to Karl Marx as a farce. A committee of the Medical University has recently decided on the three-person proposal for filling the chair for the history of medicine. As shown here earlier, the crime of a home appointment is floating in the room. Internal appointments – the appointment of a person from the same faculty to lead an institute or clinic – has always been a practice that threatens scientific diversity and is frowned upon. A recipient of the chair three years ago, who was remarkably generous with it for a limited period of three years, is now enjoying the benevolence of a locally paternalistic, apparently influential group as the crown prince.

The author

dr Johannes Miholic (* 1948) is a resident specialist in surgery in Vienna.

The ranking of the crown prince at the top of the proposal is reminiscent of the ill-timed clandestine appointments that have punctuated the history of the post-war faculty. In the fall of 1952, the medical faculty in Vienna decided to nominate Rudolf Nissen, an international celebrity, as the only professor to fill the vacant chair at the Second Surgical University Clinic. Nissen was the first choice of all the candidates considered – only men, as was typical of the time. However, the outgoing head of the clinic wanted to promote his favorite student to the top post, even though he was the most modest of the applicants in theory and surgical practice. This influence was successful, much to the detriment of the clinic. 70 years later it shows that this can still happen.

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2023-05-29 16:22:45
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