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Hjalmar August Schiøtz

Born 1850
Died 1827

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Norwegian ophtalmologist, born February 9, 1850, Stavanger; died December 8, 1927.

Biography of Hjalmar August Schiøtz

Hjalmar August Schiøtz was born in Stavanger, the youngest son of Søren Gabriel Schiøtz, a well-to-do bank manager and wholesale merchant, and his wife, Marie Dorothea, née Lange. His mother died when he was only two years old and his father died four years later. They left nine children who were taken care of by the family. Schiøtz went to school in Stavanger, where his favourite topics were arithmetics and geometry.

In 1869 he began the medical study in Christiania, graduating in 1877, the year the spelling of the city’s name was changed to Kristiania. In October 1879 he went abroad for further education in ophthalmology, spending half a year in Vienna, where he became a friend of Ernst Fuchs (1851-1930). He then moved on to Paris, where he stayed for one and a half year. In Paris he was employed as "directeur adjoint" in the ophthalmologic laboratory at the Sorbonne under Louis Émile Javal, the director. Together they developed the ophthalmometer named for them.

In the mathematical and physical calculations for the apparatus, Schiøtz received help from his brother Oskar, who had become professor of physics at the early age of 29 years.

In 1880 Schiøtz attended the international congress of eye specialists in Milano, where the first version of the Javal-Schiøtz ophthalmometer was presented. He presented the final version at the international medical congress in London in 1881.

In September 1881 he returned to Kristiania and became an assistant at the surgical department B of the Rikshospitalet. Also in 1881, he established a private practice as an eye specialist. At the hospital he distinguished himself in his work to introduce asepsis in Norway. In 1883 he introduced sterilization by boiling instruments and the use of boiled water in the treatment of wounds.

Schiøtz was conferred doctor of medicine in Kristiania on May 12, 1883, and in 1884 became head of the policlinic for diseases of the ear, nose and throat, as well as eye diseases. From 1901 he only worked on diseases of the eye.

In 1886 he visited the eye clinics in Copenhagen and Berlin as well as a couple of other places in northern Germany. During the next fifteen years he was a frequent visitor to medical congresses. In December 1887, Schiøtz and Hagbarth Strøm (1854-1912) established a 20 bed private clinic for surgical diseases and diseases of the eye. Their collaboration ended in 1891.

On June 15, 1901, Schiøtz was appointed professor of medicine with the obligation of teaching eye medicine. He retired in 1921. Hjalmar August Schiøtz was a member of several medical and other scientific bodies. He was a Knight of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden).

On October 5, 1884, Schiøtz married Inga Johanna Hertzberg (1859-1940), deaconess. They had three sons and two daughters. Only three of their children gre up, one of the daughters died at the age of five months from tuberculous meningitis.

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