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March 30, 1963

CARL von ROKITANSKY (1804-1878)

JAMA. 1963;183(13):1105-1106. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03700130073016

Rokitansky, premier pathologist of the "Allgemeines Krankenhaus," is the recognized leader of the triad of medical scientists, the illustrious "Dreigestirn," who were largely responsible for the revival of Vienna as the great medical center of the world in the mid-19th century. The other members were Joseph Skoda (Skoda's resonance), chief of the medical clinic, and Ferdinand von Hebra, dermatologist of renown.

Through Rokitansky's efforts, Emperor Francis I decreed that all who died in the general hospital would be subject to a postmortem examination. This edict permitted Rokitansky to be responsible for more than 60,000 autopsies; many of this number were performed with his own hands. No one before or since probably has had the opportunity for such extensive experience in the deathhouse. Although he never practiced medicine, and made few contributions to the pathogenesis of disease as a logical step from pathological revelations to bedside medicine, his descriptive classification of