[Role and contribution of the Croatian Medical Association in the founding of the pathoanatomic service of the public health divisions in the city of Zagreb in 1913]

B Belicza, S Sain
Lijec̆nic̆ki Vjesnik 1998, 120 (10): 349-55
Decision on the founding of the pathoanatomic service of the public health divisions, and the appointment of Dr. Ljudevit Jurak for the first prosector in 1913, is considered the beginning of the organized development of pathologic anatomy in Croatia. The aim of this paper was to investigate why this decision was made only in 1913, i.e. to find so far unknown answers to the questions who, when and with which motives made the initiative to found this important institution. Results and conclusions presented are based mainly on the data gathered by searching through "Lijecnicki vjesnik" from 1877 through 1914, complemented with information from the available archives, as well as the facts published in newspapers and historical medical contributions. The conducted research indicates that at the beginning of the twentieth century the need for public pathoanatomic service and prosector in the city of Zagreb most strongly imposed itself in the setting of clinical practice, first of all hospitals, and demands in medical jurisprudence, and much less as the result of administrative regulations on gathering statistics on death causes introduced in the kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia at the end of the nineteenth century. The Medical Association of the kingdom of Croatia and Slavonia indisputably had the most important role in the founding of the organized pathoanatomic service in the city of Zagreb, and also in the development of pathologic anatomy in Croatia. The filed requests which the Medical Association sent to the government and published in "Lijecnicki vjesnik" from 1903 to 1911 reveal that the positions of the physicians regarding the importance of pathologic anatomy for the development of modern pathoanatomic and bacteriologic diagnostics, for the investigation of the causes of death including the violent death, as well as for the development of scientific research in Croatia, were in accordance with the most advanced notions of their colleagues in Europe. The history of the struggle to found the public pathoanatomic service in Zagreb highlights the endeavors and need of Croatian physicians to update the routine professional, public health and scientific work. At the same time these were related with their striving to found clinical bases and scientific divisions necessary for the establishment of the medical school in Zagreb. The work of prosector and pathoanatomic service is being considered in the function of teaching pathological anatomy at the medical school in Zagreb, as well as in the function of teaching medical jurisprudence at the level of the University of Zagreb, i.e. the existent Law School and the future medical school. Difficulties in the realization of these endeavors can partly be explained by the lack of understanding and interest on the part of administrative and political authorities. However, one of the possible reasons for the delay of the decision on founding pathoanatomic service in the city of Zagreb till 1913 may be the fact that among Croatian physicians until 1911 there were no experts in pathologic anatomy who might have satisfied the requirements, although in that period there were no obstacles for such service in Zagreb to be entrusted to any professional, citizen of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. All taken into account, Dr, Ljudevit Jurak (1881-1945) was the only Croat who in the period from 1911 to 1913, when he was elected the prosector of the public pathoanatomic service in the city of Zagreb, met high requirements for the professional, scientific and research work, as well as for teaching in the field of pathologic anatomy and medical jurisprudence at the university.

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