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Christian Georg Schmorl

Born 1861
Died 1932

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German pathologist, born May 2, 1861, Mügeln, Sachsen; died August 14, 1932, Dresden.

Biography of Christian Georg Schmorl

Christian Georg Schmorl was the son of Ernst-Adolph Schmorl, as director of court a high ranking public servant, and his wife Clementine-Franziska, née Mogk. In 1875, at the age of 14, he entered the Fürstenschule (princely school) of Sankt Afra, now the Sächsisches Landesgymnasium Sankt Afra, in Meissen

He graduated at the age of 20 and subsequently studied medicine in Leipzig and Freiburg im Breisgau. After qualifying he trained in pathology at the pathological institute in Leipzig. He obtained his medical doctorate in 1887, aged 26, and until 1894 worked as Felix Victor Birch-Hirschfeld's (1842-1899) assistant. He was habilitated for pathological anatomy and forensic medicine at Leipzig in 1892. In 1894 he obtained another doctorate, in sciences, and that year became director of the pathological-anatomical institute of the Stadtkrankenhaus Dresden-Friedrichstadt, succeeding Friedrich Karl Adolf Neelsen (1854-1894). On October 3, 1894, he married Maria Marthaus. They had two daughters and a son.

Schmorl was appointed professor in 1903. He attracted students from all over the world and became known throughout the world for his book on histopathological methods which went through 15 editions and which was known locally as “Der kleine Schmorl”. He wrote one of the early descriptions of myelofibrosis.

He was described as an unpretentious and modest person, particularly liked by students and trainees because of his kindness towards them, and in this regard seems to be strikingly different from many of his colleagues of the same period. It is said that if he found it necessary to say that a section was too thick, he would add that after all the thicker a section the more there was to be seen in it” His weekly clinico-pathological conferences were attended not only by the clinical staff of the hospital, but also all the practitioners in the town.

His works concern pathological-anatomical investigations on puerperal eclampsy, inheritance in tuberculosis, tuberculosis of the placenta, knuckle diseases in morbus Barlow etc. From 1894 he was member of the Sächsisches Landes-Med.-Kollegium and teacher at the postgraduate courses at the military-medical school. He was a Medical counsellor from 1897.

In 1930 he was conferred doctor of honour for his contributions to veterinary pathology by the University of Leipzig.

He continued his research after retirement. However, while working on a human spine, he attracted a fatal poisoning to which he succumbed after 14 days, on August 14, 1932.

In 1952, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of his death, the pathological institute at the then Bezirkskrankenhauses Dresden-Friedrichstadt was renamed "Institut für Pathologie Georg Schmorl" in his honour.

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