Forerunners of neurosurgery in Romania

forerunners of neurosurgery in romania A presentation of the personality of Romania's great neurosurgeon and philanthropist, doctor Leon Sculy

The modernization of Romania's medical school was made concurrently with that of the entire society in the principalities of Wallachia and Moldova towards mid 19th century. The pioneers of this movement were initially foreign doctors, but also Romanians who studied abroad, as was the case of doctor Leon Sculy, one of the pioneers of surgery and neurosurgery in Iasi, northern Romania and also the founding father of the local faculty of medicine, whose first dean was.


When this education institution was officially opened in December 1879, Leon Sculy was teaching the anatomy course. Born in Piatra Neamt, in 1853, the future doctor came from a Greek family as we learn from professor Richard Constantinescu, custodian of the Medical History Museum with the University of Medicine and Pharmacy in Iasi.


Richard Constantinescu:Leon Sculy had another name - Logothetides, or Logotheti in short. He had a brother and a sister. Interesting in his case is the fact that along the years he had been depicted by various acquaintances in opposite ways; he was either a good, friendly guy or a tough one. His contemporaries described him as a guy with a short fuse, difficult to get along with. In a text published by the Iasi medical review, his collaborator doctor Paul Anghel described him as 'a nice middle-sized man with whiskers. He was a stout man but with a strange gait pushing one of his shoulders forward all of the time. He was smart and waggish.' That was the portrait he got from another fellow surgeon who was also a man of letters. Leon Sculy trained as a doctor at the universities of Montpelier and Paris. He took his PhD in France then he came back to Iasi to become collaborator of professor Ludovic Russ, an Austrian considered the founding father of surgery in Moldova. He was one of the promoters of Romanian neurosurgery and had many operations on the skull cap. He was one of those who introduced hygiene rules and used the revolutionary X-rays to diagnose his patients. Leon Sculy had a significant contribution to the introduction of several surgical techniques in that Romanian province."

Besides his medical activity Leon Sculy also got into politics and he became an MP together with his brother, but he was mainly interested in charity.


Richard Constantinescu: He was a great student supporter, deeply involved in university life. I learnt from a paper published between the two world wars that part of the Jewish community in Iasi, as a token of appreciation for this doctor, planted several olive trees in Palestine in a park named after him, Leon Sculy. I found this piece of information only in that article and need to do some research to confirm it. He even used to help his patients with money. In a paper published in Iasi, one of his students who was ill in a hospital in Ungheni thanked professor Sculy who came to visit him in a carriage. The professor wouldn't wait for the train and had to cross the river in the carriage running the risk of getting drowned by the heavy waters. His student was so impressed that he wanted to thank his former professor in a newspaper. This practice of helping the poor with money was common among the doctors of that time. They used to place money under the pillow of their patients so that relatives might be able to buy for them the medicine they couldn't afford otherwise."


Although people know very little about doctor Leon Sculy, he is still appreciated at the Faculty of Medicine in Iasi.

Richard Constantinescu: "In the Institute of Anatomy with the Medicine University in Iasi, there is a bas-relief representing Leon Sculy and at the beginning of a new school year, professors are referring to his personality in an excursus on the history of this institution. They are mentioning Leon Sculy as the first dean, the first professor of anatomy and pioneer of thoracic and neurosurgery. His political and charity activities are also being mentioned. So we can safely say that his biography deserves being revisited. His brother Vasile had a mansion close to Iasi, which he donated to the Romanian state in the First World War to use it as a hospital for the treatment of typhus."


Pioneer of neurosurgery, promoter of sterilization and antisepsis as well as of hygiene as a means of fighting diseases, the great philanthropist, doctor Leon Sculy was also a passionate collector. An icon from his collection, featuring Saint Haralambie, traditionally known as 'the plague healer', has recently been put up for sale.


(translated by bill)




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Publicat: 2020-05-02 14:00:00
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