Karl Gottfried Paul Döhle

Born 1855-06-06
Died 1928-12-07

Related eponyms

German pathologist, born June 6, 1855, Mühlhausen in Thüringen; died December 7, 1928.

Biography of Karl Gottfried Paul Döhle

Karl Gottfried Paul Döhle studied in Tübingen, Leipzig, Strassburg and Kiel. He graduated in medicine in Kiel in 1881, and received his doctorate there in 1882. In 1883 he became an assistant at the Kiel pathological institute under Arnold Ludwig Heller, and remained there until his retirement in 1924. He was habilitated for pathology in 1889, became titular professor in 1896, in 1908 became head of the department at the pathological institute, and in 1909 professor extraordinary. In 1915 he was appointed ordinarius and honorary professor, and a full professor in 1921.

Döhle was one of the first, if not the first, to differentiate syphilitic inflammation of the aorta from atherosclerosis. Looking for parasitic lesions causing disease, he noted the inclusion bodies of leukocytes in blood in patients with scarlet fever and he initially believed these to be specific, and to represent spirochetes. He found that he could differentiate inclusion bodies in the leukocytes in scarlet fever from those occurring in other illnesses. These suggestions were not confirmed.

Although a very good histopathologist, he published relatively little and being somewhat of an introvert avoided medical congresses and therefore he was relatively unknown outside his institute. It was only through the efforts of Heller that his work on syphilitic aortitis eventually achieved recognition. He was, however, a very successful teacher of students and postgraduates.

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