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Title: The First Polish Research Paper on Death by Asphyxia. A Doctoral Dissertation by Jan Błażej Bobrzyński "De asphyxia in genere", 1837

Author:
Janusz H. S kalski, Bolesław Turczyński
Language:
PL
Journal:
Archives of the history and philosophy of medicine
Year:
2012
Volume:
75
Number:
1
Start page:
90
Final page:
107
ISSN:
0860-1844
Keywords:
history of medicine, history of anesthesiology, history of resuscitation, death by asphyxia
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The paper presents a translation from Latin of the 19thcentury doctoral dissertation by Jan Błażej Bobrzyński on death by asphyxia, which was tellingly entitled "De asphyxia in genere". The dissertation was prepared in Cracow and was supervised by Professor Maciej Józef Brodowicz, the then Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Medical Academy of Krakow. The title of Doctor of Medical Sciences was conferred upon the candidate on June 26, 1837. In addition to the translated text, in the introduction, the paper discusses circumstances of the report preparation and provides basic biographical information on the author of the dissertation. The discussion in the final part of the paper gives several critical comments on the dissertation, as well as reflects high appreciation of Bobrzyński's clinical recommendations and his reliable use of literature. The dissertation is recognized as an encyclopedic review of contemporary medical knowledge enriched with anecdotes, superstitions and popular 19th-century views on clinical death and the process of dying in general: be it death surrounded by violent circumstances or suffused with an aura of at the time not quite understood phenomena accompanying the process of dying. The doctoral dissertation by Bobrzyński is presented as a unique and extremely valuable document bringing us closer to the real medical knowledge of the mid-19th century on asphyxia and possibilities of saving the life of a patient endangered by extreme respiratory failure.