Which are the most famous doctors in the world? The article below will present some of the leading figures in medicine throughout the history of mankind, from Hippocrates or Merit-Ptah (a great doctor of ancient Egypt) to Virginia Apgar, one of the most important doctors of the 20th century.
Next, you will find a list of the 9 most famous doctors (men and women) who have lived in different civilizations of the world.
The list is based on the historical period in which each of these people lived.
Merit-Ptah, whose name can be translated as “beloved of Ptah” (god of craftsmen and architects), was the chief physician of the pharaoh’s court in ancient Egypt, where, unlike other civilizations, women studied medicine on a regular basis, even more often than men.
The knowledge about Merit-Ptah comes from an inscription found on a tomb in the Valley of the Kings. It suggests that this physician of ancient times was a teacher and supervisor of other doctors, as well as the physician of the pharaoh.
Hippocrates of Kos is undoubtedly one of the most famous doctors in history. He lived in Classical Greece, in the so-called Age of Pericles, and is often referred to as the “Father of Medicine”, because his school laid many of the foundations for the establishment of this discipline in Europe.
Most people know Hippocrates due to the so-called “Hippocratic Oath”. Nowadays, this public oath is still performed during many medicine graduation ceremonies, either its original text or updated versions.
Metrodora was a Greek physician of Egyptian origin who wrote the work “On the Diseases and Cures of Women”, which deals with gynaecology and other areas of medicine.
This volume is the first medical treatise written by a woman which is documented. Not only was it popular during ancient times, but also in the Europe of the Middle Ages.
Abu Ali Sina or Ibn Sina is the most famous physician of the Islamic Golden Age, although he is also known for his contribution to philosophy, theology, astronomy, mathematics, geology, psychology, logic and science as a whole.
Avicenna, as he is known in the West, was a prolific author. In fact, at present, it is known that he wrote more than 450 works, of which only 40 deal with medicine. “The Canon of Medicine” should be highlighted, since it has been extremely influential in medical science around the world, and also “The Book of Healing”, which has a more comprehensive and philosophical nature.
The famous French chemist and bacteriologist Louis Pasteur made great contributions to medicine, including his essential theory about infectious diseases (which emphasises the importance of germs). This allowed the development of vaccine and antibiotics and also promoted hygiene practices such as sterilising medical instruments.
Probably the most famous female doctor in history, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate in medicine in the United States.
Blackwell is now considered a feminist icon for this reason as well as for her contributions to promoting the study of this discipline by women.
The English surgeon Joseph Lister was another famous doctor of the 19th century. He was a pioneer of antiseptic procedures, that is, of preventing damaged tissues form getting infected or rotting.
Namely, Lister introduced the use of phenol or carbolic acid as an antiseptic to sterilise surgical instruments and clean wounds.
Although he is currently known primarily for his contributions to clinical psychology, Sigmund Freud was a doctor and neurologist (so he can rather be considered a kind of psychiatrist). However, his theory and work rapidly and progressively developed towards the discipline he called psychoanalysis.
The American Virginia Apgar was an obstetrical anaesthesiologist known to develop the Apgar score, which assesses the health of newborn children according to five aspects: skin colour, pulse rate, response to stimulation, level of activity and respiratory rate.
Check out the original article: Médicos famosos: los 9 doctores más célebres de la historia at viviendolasalud.com
Furst, L. R. (1999). Women Healers and Physicians: Climbing a Long Hill. University Press of Kentucky.
Jahren, H. (2017). The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2017. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.