A Doctor Ahead Of His Time
When Paracelsus became a medical professor at the University of Basel, his first assignment was to burn medical books written by Galen and Avicenna. Born Phillippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim in a German village in 1493, he changed his name to Paracelsus to reinforce his rejection of traditional medical teachings (including those of Celsus, a famous Roman physician of the first century). Paracelsus believed that for every disease there was a specific remedy. He was the first to perform a clinical investigation of syphilis and to prescribe mercury for its treatment. He also identified silicosis and tuberculosis as occupational diseases caused by the inhaling of toxic substances by miners. Paracelsus received numerous death threats for his radical teachings and died under mysterious circumstances this week (September 24) in 1541 at the age of 48.
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