- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Gustav Killian

Born 1860
Died 1921

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German laryngologist, born June 2, 1860, Mainz; died February 24, 1921, Berlin.

Biography of Gustav Killian

Gustav Killian studied in Strassburg, Freiburg im Breisgau, Berlin, and Heidelberg. He obtained his medical doctorate in Freiburg im Breisgau in1884. He specialised in laryngo-rhinology and worked in Berlin under Hartmann and Krause. In 1887 he was entrusted with the leadership of the policlinic for diseases of the throat and nose in Frei8burg im Breisgau. He was habilitated in 1888, became titular professor in 1894, and in 1899 became director of the throat and nose clinic in Freiburg.

Killian was "etatmässiger Professor" from 1900 and in 1907 he was appointed ordinary, honorary professor. In 1911, as "persönlicher Ordinarius", he took over the directorship of the university clinic for diseases of the throat and nose, also becoming Ordinarius at the Kaiser-Wilhelms-Akademie, and in 1920 "etatmässiger Ordinarius".

Killian is considered the founder of bronchoscopy. In 1895 he was the first to make an exploration of the bronchi with a bronchoscope, and two years later used the instrument and a forceps to successfully remove a foreign body from the windpipe. In 1908 he devised a light-reflecting laryngoscope.

For his development of bronchoscopy, Killian was proposed as a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, but died before he was nominated.

His son, Hans Killian (1892-1982) became a physician and authored several books. In 1923 he founded the journal Narkose und Anästhesie, and in 1959 Lokalanästhesie und Lokalanästhetika.

We thank Peter Morh, UK, for information submitted.

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