There are many different branches of medicine, and pediatrics is one of them. Adalbert Czerny made his name in science by being one of the co-founders of modern pediatrics. Because of his devotion and contributions to pediatrics, several children’s diseases have 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 Austria’s capital city, Vienna. He was the son of a railway engineer and in 1879, he moved to Pilsen, now in the Czech Republic.
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 in Prague. Six years later, he graduated with his doctoral degree. He completed his doctoral studies by writing 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 also a part of the Prague University Hospital.
In 1893, he gave a lecture concerning the nutrition of newborns and also wrote a treatise on glycogen and amaloid disorder. Because of these works, he was given offers to become the chair of pediatrics in Breslau and in Innsbruck. He decided to accept the position in Breslau and he worked there until 1910. While he was working in Breslau, he received an offer from Munich, giving him the opportunity to be a full professor of pediatrics. Czerny declined this offer and, because of his loyalty to Breslau, he was promoted to the position of a personal full professor at Breslau, which also came with a good raise in salary.
In 1910, he left Breslau and accepted the position of chair of pediatrics in Strassburg’s new Children’s Hospital. He worked there for three years. In 1913, he became Otto Heubner’s successor as the full professor for pediatrics at the Berlin Charite, a teaching and research hospital and university. He worked at the Berlin Charite for 19 years and there he made many of his achievements. He was also given the chance to start the International School of Pediatrics.
During 1934-1936, he became the professor emeritus and took the chair of pediatrics in Dusseldorf’s Medical Academy. He was also made the temporary head of the local Children’s Hospital. His years were spent in the field of pediatrics from the moment he finished his education.
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 Heubner had established.
While at Berlin Charite, the extensive research Czerny had carried out was summarized and written up formally along with the help of his colleague and pupil, Arthur Keller into a two volume manual, “Des Kindes Ernährung, Ernährungsstörungen und Ernährungstherapie”. This translated means, 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 further editions of this work were published in 1917 and 1928.
The “Czerny-Keller” manual basically determined facts about nutrition in the field of pediatrics. Because of its significant findings, it has influenced the discipline of pediatrics. 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 wrote “Der Arzt als Erzieher” or “The physician as an educator” based on some of his lectures.
Because of his contributions, Czerny has his own award which is annually 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 married and he had one son, Marianus. His son became a full professor in Frankfurt for experimental physics and he taught from 1938 to 1961. Adalbert Czerny 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.
In more recent times, 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.