- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Erwin Otto Eduard von Baelz

Born 1849
Died 1913

Related eponyms

Bibliography

German internist and anthropologist, born January 1, 1849, Bietigheim; died August 31, 1913, Stuttgart.

Biography of Erwin Otto Eduard von Baelz

Erwin Otto Eduard von Baelz studied in Tübingen and Leipzig and received his doctorate in Leipzig in 1872. Following some years as assistant physician (internist) to Karl Reinhold August Wunderlich (1815-1877), Baelz in 1875 accepted an invitation to the Tokyo School of Medicine, Japan, where he remained for almost 30 years. Here he first taught physiology, before succeeding Albrecht Ludwig Agathon Wernich (1843-1896) in internal medicine and gynaecology. Wernich had come to Japan in 1874.

Although he had earlier published works on the side effects of salicylic acid, his interest changed more to that of investigating the anthropological and pathological of the Japanese, publishing his works partly in German periodicals, partly in the Yokohama journal entitled Mitteilungen für Natur- und Völkerkunde Ostasiens.

The Japanese medical students and his physician colleagues admired him; through him Japanese medicine experienced progress through the linking of European and Asian knowledge. Baelz was possessed of a great love to and understanding of Japan, and his wife was Japanese. His reputation was so great, that the Japanese emperor appointed him his personal physician.

In 1905, after 29 years of work in Japan, Baelz returned to Stuttgart, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

"Wer ein fremdes Volk verstehen will, der muss sich notwendig in dasselbe, in seine Denk- und Auffassungsweise einzuleben versuchen, um aus dieser heraus die Anschauungen und Gebräuche zu erklären. Er muss die Sprache lernen, er muss es den Leuten ungezwungen und direkt verkehren können und muss sich bemühen, ohne alle vorgefassten Meinungen die Zustände und Menschen objektiv zu beurteilen. Wer das nun tut, der fühlt bei längerer Berührung mit einer fremdartigen Kultur eine eigentümliche Wandlung mit sich vorgehen. Je länger er studiert, um so vorsichtiger, um zu zurückhaltender wird er in seinem Urteil. Er sieht die Schwierigkeiten des Erkennens und des gerechten Urteils. Er findet, dass die Leute, welche in Leben und Sitte eines fremden Volkes so vieles lächerlich finden, eigentlich nur sich selbst lächerlich machen, da sie über Dinge spotten, die sie nicht verstanden haben."
From: Felix Schottländer:
Erwin von Baelz 1849-1913, Leben und Wirken eines deutschen Arztes in Japan.

What is an eponym?

An eponym is a word derived from the name of a person, whether real or fictional. A medical eponym is thus any word related to medicine, whose name is derived from a person.

What is Whonamedit?

Whonamedit.com is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. It is our ambition to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.

Disclaimer:

Whonamedit? does not give medical advice.
This survey of medical eponyms and the persons behind them is meant as a general interest site only. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. If you, or anybody close to you, is affected, or believe to be affected, by any condition mentioned here: see a doctor.