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Franz Kaspar Hesselbach

Born 1759
Died 1816

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German physician, surgeon, and anatomist, born January 27, 1759, Hammelburg, Fürstenthum Fulda; died July 24, 1816.

Biography of Franz Kaspar Hesselbach

Franz Kaspar Hesselbach studied from 1778 in Würzburg, and had the luck of being the private pupil of Karl Kaspar von Siebold (1736-1807), who held the chairs anatomy, surgery, and obstetrics in one person. Hesselbach then became surgical assistant at the Juliusspital, always attracting the attention and affection of his teachers with his restless diligence. His love of anatomy demanded most of his free hours, he often worked through half the night. It is therefore understandable that Siebold, who had had to do without the assistance of a prosector while also having to do all sectioning, made the young Hesselbach his prosector, a position he filled for six years - without any financial compensation. It was not until 1789 he was employed as a paid prosector. It was thanks to Hesselbach’s activity that the anatomical collection was substantially increased, reaching some 1252 preparations in the year of 1815-1816.

Yet Hesselbach did not neglect surgery, and in 1795 published on an improved knife for stone surgery. He gave private tuition in anatomy and stone cut. Among his pupils was Konrad Johann Martin Langenbeck (1776-1851), later to become a famous surgeon in Göttingen.

After the take over of Würzburg by Bavaria in 1804 his not too bright career was boosted. In 1807 he was conferred doctor of medicine by the Würzburg medical faculty in gratitude of his contributions to the anatomical institute.

During the period of illness and after the death of the professor of surgery Georg Anton Markard (1775-1816), Hesselbach taught all of the surgical operations, renouncing the position of head physician at the Juliusspital until the arrival of the new professor, Cajetan von Textor (1782-1860).

His son was the surgeon Adam Kaspar Hesselbach (1788-1856).

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