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October 12, 1964


JAMA. 1964;190(2):152-153. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070150062020

Ferdinand Sauerbruch, the most famous pupil of von Mikulicz, was one of the most respected as well as one of the most fearsome surgeons of Central Europe in the first portion of the 20th century. He contributed heavily to the development of techniques which made the thoracic cavity as surgically approachable as the abdominal cavity a generation earlier. Ferdinand was born of humble parents in Barmen, Germany. His father, who died of pulmonary tuberculosis two years after his birth, was the technical manager of a textile factory; subsequently, his grandfather Hammerschmidt, a master shoemaker, became his guardian. Ferdinand's early years, as recounted in his autobiography, had more bitterness and frustration than happiness, which may have been reflected by his unusual adjustment to a highly successful professional career.1

Sauerbruch studied the natural sciences at the University of Marburg, found them uninteresting, and transferred to the University of Leipzig to begin

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