Biography of Norbert Ortner
Norbert Ortner studied at Vienna, where he received his doctorate in 1889. Following a period as assistant in the Kronprinz-Rudolf-Kinderspital under Gnändinger, he worked at the Rudolfstiftung, with the prosector, Anton Weichselbaum (1845-1920), and the internist Edmund von Neusser (1852-1912). He attracted Neusser’s attention with two monographs on congenital disease of the aorta and mixed infection in pulmonary tuberculosis. He became Neusser’s assistant in 1893 in his clinic in Vienna, and the same year accompanied Neusser to the clinic for internal medicine.
Ortner was habilitated in 1895. He became titular professor 1898 and in 1900 head physician at the Frans-Josef-Spital, from 1903 at the Allgemeines Krankenhaus. In 1907 he was called to Innsbruck as ordinarius. After four years in Innsbruck, he came to Vienna in 1911 to succeed Ernst Adolf Gustav Gottfried von Strümpell (1853-1925) as head of the most prestigious clinic in Vienna, also becoming became physician to the emperor Franz Josef (1830-1916) He retired in 1930 and remained in the capital for the rest of his life.
Apart from his studies on cardiac valvular disease, Ortner was best known for his book on pain and one on therapeutics of internal disease which was translated into many languages. He was a keen proponent of laboratory work and its application to bedside teaching and he said that the clinician’s motto should be “via the laboratory always to the clinic”, “übers laboratorium dauernd zur Klinik”.