Adalbert Czerny



There are many different branches of medicine, and pediatrics is one of them. Adalbert Czerny made his name in science by also being known as one of the co-founders of modern pediatrics. Because of his devotions and contributions to pediatrics, several children’s diseases have even been named after him to commemorate his efforts in this branch of medicine.

Early Life and Educational Background

Adalbert Czerny was born on March 25, 1863 in Jaworzno, Poland but he grew up in Vienna. He was the son of a railway engineer and in 1879, the moved to Pilsen.

He already had an inclination for medicine, and when he passed his Abitur exam in 1882, he then decided to pursue medical studies at the Charles University which was in Prague. Six years later, he was able to graduate with his doctoral degree. He completed his doctoral studies by having a thesis which focused on kidney disease. To gain experience, Czerny worked as the clinical assistant of Alois Epstein who was working at the “Findelanstalt” or the hospital for foundlings. This was a part of the Prague University Hospital.

In 1893, he had a lecture about the nutrition of newborns as well as the treatise on glycogen and amaloid disorder. Because of these works of his, he was given two offers to become the chair of pediatrics in Breslau and Innsbruck. He decided to go for Breslau and it was there where he worked until the year 1910. While he was working in Breslau, an offer from Munich came, giving him the chance to be the full professor of pediatrics. Czerny declined this offer and because of his loyalty, he was given the position of being a personal full professor at Breslau, and it also came with a good raise in his salary.

In 1910, he had a career change which made him leave Breslau. He was offered the position of the being the chair of pediatrics in Strassburg’s new Children’s Hospital. It was there where he worked for three years. In 1913, he became Otto Heubner’s successor as the full professor for pediatrics. This was at the Berlin Charite. He worked at the Berlin Charite for 19 years and there he had much of his achievements. He even was given the chance to start the international School of Pediatrics.

During 1934-1936, he was the professor emeritus and the chair of pediatrics in Dusseldorf’s Medical Academy, and he was also the temporary head of their local Children’s Hospital. His years were spent in the field of pediatrics from the moment he finished his education.

Career Achievements

Czerny founded his own school, and it was primarily concerned with the metabolic pathology, nutrition physiology of neonates. While he was working the Children’s Hospital in Berlin University, he continued his research concerning infant mortality. It was something which Otto Heubner had started and Czerny built on the foundations which have been established.

He had his extensive work done in Breslau and along with his colleague and pupil named Arthur Keller, he was able to summarize the results he had from his Breslau work in the two-volume “Des Kindes Ernährung, Ernährungsstörungen und Ernährungstherapie”manual which translates to Children’s nutrition, nutritional disturbance and therapeutic nutrition. Because of the long name, it is most commonly referred to by the experts as simply “Czerny-Keller.” The initial edition was published in 1906, and other editions of this work was published later on in 1917 and 1928.

The “Czerny-Keller” manual basically determined facts about nutrition in the field of pediatrics and because of its significant findings, it has influenced the disciplines of pediatrics which are still being used today. Czerny used the phrase “disorder of nutrition” and this showed how nutrition as well as disease are related to each other and how they affect infant health.

He also distinguished three different groups of damages which are caused by nutrition, caused by infections, and those caused by physical constitutions. Another emphasis on his work was how nutritional disturbance affects the child’s behavior. He also had the “Der Arzt als Erzieher” or “The physician as an educator” which shows this kind of approach on the title itself.

Because of his contributions, Czerny has his own award which is annualy given by the German Association of Children’s and Juvenile Medicine or the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendmedizin. This award began in 1963, and is given yearly to deserving individuals who have had their own contributions or exemplary scientific achievements where pediatrics is concerned. The German Association of Children’s and Juvenile Medicine was founded in 1883, and they began the Adalbert-Czerny award in 1963 which is also the 100th anniversary which commemorates Czerny’s birth

Personal Life, Later Years, and Legacy

Czerny had his family and he has one son named Marianus. His son happened to be one of the full professors in Frankfurt for experimental physics—he taught from 1938 to 1961. He died in Berlin on the third of October, 1941 and was laid to rest in Pilsen.

He had been the discoverer of different scientific bases in pediatrics, and because of this, some children’s diseases are named after him. The most common ones are nutritional anemia observed in neonates which is called Czerny anemia, paradoxical respiration or what is known as Czerny respiration, and lymphatic-exudative diathesis which is also known as Czerny diathesis. Czerny diathesis happens to be a kind of clinical entity and Czerny himself distinguished this from scrofula and later on from tuberculosis as well. This was what Czery described as the individual disposition to the increased sensitivity of the skin as well as mucus. These were all named after Czerny to remember the contributions he helped make in defining the clinical symptoms of these specific pediatric conditions.

Just recently, Adalbert Czerny’s 105th birthday was remembered by one of the Google Doodles. It was the Google Doodle for March 25, 2013, and it featured a boy sitting on a high chair while Czerny who was in a standing position examined the young patient using a stethoscope.