“Medycyna Nowożytna” T. 25, 2019, fasc.1

16.02.2022 | 17.04.2022

Agata Strządała, Jewish bioethics at the beginning and the end of life

 The article is focused on Israeli bioethical specificity, which derive from and is based  mainly on Jewish religious law and tradition. They are actively reinterpreted and implemented in Israeli society by social practices, polices and institutions. This topic is complex because the differences between the orthodox, conservative, and reformed Judaism are reflected in bioethical discussions. However in Israel a broad consensus has been reached on many issues such as abortion, in vitro fertilization, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, human cloning, stem cell research including embryonic stem cells, and euthanasia. Generally speaking, similar like Islamic and Confucian bioethics, the Jewish one is open to the possibility of artificial in vitro fertilization, PGD, human cloning, and embryonic stem cell research. On the other hand, the attitudes towards euthanasia, autopsy and organ donation in Jewish bioethics are largely negative.


Jarosław Barański, The virtues of a doctor in Polish medical philosophy and ethics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Moral reflection on medical behavior, particularly on moral values essential to practicing medicine, first appeared in Poland in the 18th century as part of philosophy of morality and moral science. This practical philosophy inspired by stoicism is, most of all, a catalogue of doctor’s virtues and a theoretical premise for the 20-century medical ethics fully expressed by Władysław Biegański and his medical ethics. The first axiological declarations about moral duties of a doctor, which are the expression of such moral philosophy, are associated with Rafał Józef Czerwiakowski and Wincenty Szczucki.


M.J. Turos, Napoleon and plague in Jaffa – a beautiful picture … unfortunately, the less beautiful truth

This text is an attempt to systematize data and answer the question what happened in Jaffa during the evacuation of wounded and sick from the city during the retreat of Napoleonic troops in May 1799, and to find people who were personally responsible for administering poison to the most severely ill.


A. Felchner, The Family in the Second Polish Republic – The Main Dangers of Diseases

The period between 1918 and 1939 is extremely important not for Poland but also for Polish families of that period. After about 150 years of partitions the families could again live and bring up their children in an independent and free country. The times were judged and described in different ways in the past. From 1945 until the changes of the economic mode originated in 1989 the times were very negatively perceived by the imposed government of that period. Within the last, almost thirty years, in newspapers those events were presented sometimes too positively. The time passing and new publications describing social life of whose who lived ninety or a hundred years ago allow to explore in deep and diversify the scope of the research. The issues are also meaningful for contemporary families. They concern extremely important problems – for instance, bringing up and educating the forthcoming generations while preserving traditions and respecting the things which had already been achieved. Obviously, the difficult or controversial issues should not be avoided at any stage of the discussion. One of the elements connected with education are health and illness issues concerning also the recent past. The defeat of the imperialist countries after World War I was used by Polish society. With the support of the victorious allies Poland was reborn as an independent, sovereign country. In spite of the fact that our country formally did not participate in warfare of 1914-1918 still it became the area of fierce battles and fighting. Within the first years of the young country until the end of the Third Silesian Uprising in spring 1921, the situation constantly worsened. This period was extremely difficult for the society. One of the most frequently problems that the families had to face were massive infectious illness outbreaks (for instance, typhoid fever, smallpox or cholera) or social illness outbreaks, like tuberculosis or venereal diseases.  Only in 1920s did the negative health situation of the families improve. The great world economic crisis which started in 1929 and finished in Poland after five years impaired the issues connected with health of general public. Because of financial problems the activity of, for example, school health care system activity was limited. The last two years of the Second Polish Republic brought an improvement of the situation as far as health issues are concerned. Infant mortality rate was decreasing. The net of health centers developed and there were the centers responsible for the mother and child health care, school hygiene and the control of the most dangerous social diseases – tuberculosis, trachoma, venereal diseases. Immunization of the youngest was introduced to a bigger scale. The number of doctors educated at five Polish universities increased and the health state of the society improved. The discussions concerning the improvement of health care system continued. The disputes also referred to the school medicine which was better organized at that time.

It is possible to claim that by presenting the above issues the important elements from family life in the Second Polish Republic will be reminded but also some conclusions concerning contemporary period can be drawn.


Owecki, „On edema of the vertebral canal” – remarks on the beginnings of neurology in Poland. A critical study of Wincenty Herberski doctor’s theses.

The goal of the paper is to analyze the Latin doctoral dissertation of Wincenty Herberski: „Dissertatio inauguralis medico-practica de hydrope specus vertebralis” („On ascites of the spinal canal”). The author, under the direction of Professor Josef Frank, defended his doctoral theses at the University of Vilnius in 1812. The dissertation discusses the clinical manifestation and contemporary views on the pathogenesis of the spinal canal edema. The presented conception was dominated by a combination of ideas: organ pathology and the Hippocrates theory of inflammation. The subject of the dissertation and its pioneering character, makes Wincenty Herberski one of the precursors of Polish neurology.


A.Glusiuk – Women’s diseases and methods of treatments based on the treatise of Metrodora of Byzantium

The treatise „Women’s diseases” is one of the few medieval medical works written by a woman. This short work written in Greek by Metrodora is probably the oldest text preserved to modern times, in which the author – woman speaks about women’s diseases.

There is a few information about Metrodora. We do not know exactly when and where she lived, if Metrodora was her real name or only pseudonym and what happened with her original manuscript. We can only suppose that she lived in 6th century in Bizantine Empire and that she worked there as a midwife. She probably was not a Christian because in her treatise there is not any information about this religion.

The recipes contained in Metrodora’s treatise show us with what kind of healthy problems the women went to her and how she tried to help them. In her recipes we can find a lot of plants and minerals and this show us that she had a deep medical knowledge.


M.Paciorek – The activities of the Medical Sciences History Committee at the Science Council of the Ministry of Health between 1952 – 1956, as detailed in documents of the Archives of Modern Records

In a post-war reality, especially in the early 1950s, the issue of conducting medical history research in Poland was the subject of factual analysis. The Marxist-Leninist ideology enforced by the then-contemporary state authorities demanded such an approach. A special Medical Sciences History Committee was established on 18.01.1952 at the request of the Science Council of the Ministry of Health. It was located on Chocimska 22 street in Warsaw and was given the task to ‘Rebuild the history of medicine based on a new foundation’. Minutes from the sessions of the Committee and the discussed topics were recorded in a file kept by the Ministry of Health that was found in the Archives of Modern Records. The following topic is indeed worthy of investigation, as it was that Committee that gave rise to the shaping of history of medical sciences according to new rules of the post-war period. The Ministry of Health had received regular reports on the sessions of the Committee and the topics discussed.


M.Grassman -Medical heritage of first Polish hospital in Chicago

Polish medical heritage exists in every corner of the world. It is popularized because of group of doctors, social workers and often religious nuns serving the needed. A great example of how to preserve the memory of Polish medicine is the first Polish hospital in Chicago, established in 1894 by the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth. It was founded and run by Polish nuns for Polish doctors and patients. Its long history can be found in the museum organized in 1985 in the central part of the hospital.


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