- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Bernhard Moritz Carl Ludwig Riedel

Born  1846
Died  1916

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German surgeon, born September 18, 1846, Teschentin, Grossherzogtum Mecklenburg; died September 12, 1916, Jena.

Biography of Bernhard Moritz Carl Ludwig Riedel

Bernhard Moritz Carl Ludwig Riedel was born in Teschentin in the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg, the son of a parson. He studied medicine at Jena from 1866, but in 1868 moved to Rostock. Just before the Franco-Prussian War broke out he took an emergency degree and went to Glogau in military service as a corpsman with a rank of corporal and he remained in the medical corps until the end of the war, during which he saw service both at the front and in military hospitals.

After the war he returned to Rostock and completed his medical examinations in 1872 – topping his class. He was prosector to the anatomist Friedrich Siegmund Merkel (1845-1919) in Rostock for three years, and from 1875 he was assistant to Franz König (1832-1910) in Göttingen, where he was habilitated for surgery in 1877.

Riedel then studied with Bernhard Rudolf Konrad von Langenbeck (1810-1887), Heinrich Adolf von Bardeleben (1819-1895) and Fischer (probably Hermann Eberhard Fischer, 1831-1919). After F. König was appointed professor of surgery at Göttingen, Riedel returned to Göttingen to work with him there. In Göttingen he studied wound healing and joint effusions and commenced his interests in gastric surgery and cholelithiasis.

From 1877 to 1881 Riedel was Dozent of surgery in Göttingen. In 1881 he became head physician at the surgical department of the Städtisches Krankenhaus in Aachen, and in 1888 he succeeded Heinrich Braun (1847-1911) as ordinarius of surgery and director of the surgical clinic at Jena.

Riedel was one of the pioneers in surgical treatment of appendicitis and strongly advocated “the earliest early operation”. He was the first to demonstrate that the abscess, which occurs after appendicitis, may be removed with an incision in the free abdominal cavity without danger to the patient, as long as it has not spread too much.

Late in life Riedel had to have his leg amputated at the knee as a consequence of a painful leg condition secondary to atherosclerosis. Despite this he resumed full activities when World War I broke out in 1914, but died of lung cancer two years later.

    “Anatomy and more anatomy is the essence of surgery”


  • Die entzündlichen Processe und die Geschwülste am Halse.
    With Franz König. Deutsche Chirurgie, 1882, volume 36.
  • Über acute Darmwandbrüche.
    [Volkmann’s] Sammlung klinischer Vorträge, Leipzig, 1886.
  • Erfahrungen über die Gallensteinkrankheiten mit und ohne Icterus. Berlin, 1892.
  • Anleitung zum Operieren an der Leiche und am Lebenden. Jena, 1896.

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