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 Emil Theodor Kocher

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Emil Theodor Kocher Famous memorial

Birth
Bern, Switzerland
Death
27 Jul 1917 (aged 75)
Bern, Switzerland
Burial
Bern, Verwaltungskreis Bern-Mittelland, Bern, Switzerland
Memorial ID
217792869 View Source

Nobel Prize Recipient. Theodor Kocher received world-wide notoriety after being awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which was given, according to the Nobel Prize Committee, "for his work on the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid gland." After six nominations within a two year period, he was the first Swiss surgeon to received this covet award. He mastered the medical problem of the goiter, a mass on the thyroid, which can lead to difficulty in breathing in serious cases. In a time when “sterile” was not yet a word used in an operating room, he illustrated how the removal of goiter could be excised under good hygiene and minimal blood loss. After research and understanding the metabolic function of the thyroid gland, he illustrated how a viable part of the gland needed to be left intact after the surgery for the hormone to maintain normal body functioning. Born into a family of five sons and one daughter of a road engineer, his parents were devoted to him and his education, which enable him to attend school regularly, going to the university and obtaining his doctorate the University of Bern in 1865, graduating summa cum laude. He studied in Berlin, London, Paris, and Vienna, where he was a pupil of Dr. Theodor Billroth, renowned gastric surgeon. With encouragement from his teachers, he followed Dr. Albert Lücke, a professor of surgery, who was called to a position in Strassburg. Being Lucke's assistant from 1866 afforded him a valuable learning experience. He published an article on the torsion of arteries, and discovered a new and improved method of reducing a dislocated shoulder. At Billroth's recommendation, he became professor and chairman of the surgery department in 1872 at Bern University, remaining at the head of the surgical clinic for 45 years, although given several offers to transfer out of the country. After learning a great deal first-hand about aseptic technique, he was one of the first surgeons to use pure aseptic technique during his procedures. From this experience he co-authored with Dr. Basel Tavel the textbook, “Lectures On Surgical Infectious Disease” in 1872 and updated in 1900. His textbooks, “Theory on Surgical Operations,” which has been published in six editions and in several languages, and “Diseases of the Thyroid Gland have been very successful. He continued to study surgery procedures such osteomyelitis or infection of the bone, strangulated hernia, cholecystectomy, and removal of cancerous tumors. He authored or co-authored 249 scholarly articles and textbooks on a host of surgical procedures. He designed many surgical instruments with some still being used in the 21st century. One being the clamp used on blood vessels during surgery to stop bleeding. In 1902 he was President of the German Society of Surgeons in Berlin and in 1905 President of the First International Surgical Congress in Brussels. After 1904, American surgeons were visiting his clinic for training averaging forty a year. American Neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing came for seven months. Kocher taught a generation of Jewish-Russian students who were not allow to study in Russia. He was a member of many learned medical societies including Russia, the United States, Finland, Germany Turkey, Austria, and especially England, as he traveled there eight times for conferences. Three years after receiving the Nobel Prize, he donated to Bern University the sum of 200,000 Swiss francs for a Research Institute in Biology, which today bears his name. He married and had three sons, his oldest became an assistant professor of surgery. By 1912 he had performed 5,000 thyroid excisions and had reduced the mortality in such surgery from 18 percent to less than 0.5 percent. When World War I started, he was very upset; he had given many lectures on the damages of bullets to the human body. On the evening of July 23, 1917, he was called to the hospital for an emergency surgery. He came home stating he did not feel well and was going to bed. During the night, he became comatose and died four days later. Like his mother, he had a strong religious faith, belonging to the Moravian Church. At the Kocher Park in Bern, there is a bronze bust of him. Besides numerous surgical instruments and surgical procedures, a volcano in Manchuria, a moon crater and the asteroid #2087 were named Kocher in his honor. Although some sources state he was the first Swiss to receive the Nobel Prize, in 1902 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to two Swiss.

Nobel Prize Recipient. Theodor Kocher received world-wide notoriety after being awarded the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which was given, according to the Nobel Prize Committee, "for his work on the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid gland." After six nominations within a two year period, he was the first Swiss surgeon to received this covet award. He mastered the medical problem of the goiter, a mass on the thyroid, which can lead to difficulty in breathing in serious cases. In a time when “sterile” was not yet a word used in an operating room, he illustrated how the removal of goiter could be excised under good hygiene and minimal blood loss. After research and understanding the metabolic function of the thyroid gland, he illustrated how a viable part of the gland needed to be left intact after the surgery for the hormone to maintain normal body functioning. Born into a family of five sons and one daughter of a road engineer, his parents were devoted to him and his education, which enable him to attend school regularly, going to the university and obtaining his doctorate the University of Bern in 1865, graduating summa cum laude. He studied in Berlin, London, Paris, and Vienna, where he was a pupil of Dr. Theodor Billroth, renowned gastric surgeon. With encouragement from his teachers, he followed Dr. Albert Lücke, a professor of surgery, who was called to a position in Strassburg. Being Lucke's assistant from 1866 afforded him a valuable learning experience. He published an article on the torsion of arteries, and discovered a new and improved method of reducing a dislocated shoulder. At Billroth's recommendation, he became professor and chairman of the surgery department in 1872 at Bern University, remaining at the head of the surgical clinic for 45 years, although given several offers to transfer out of the country. After learning a great deal first-hand about aseptic technique, he was one of the first surgeons to use pure aseptic technique during his procedures. From this experience he co-authored with Dr. Basel Tavel the textbook, “Lectures On Surgical Infectious Disease” in 1872 and updated in 1900. His textbooks, “Theory on Surgical Operations,” which has been published in six editions and in several languages, and “Diseases of the Thyroid Gland have been very successful. He continued to study surgery procedures such osteomyelitis or infection of the bone, strangulated hernia, cholecystectomy, and removal of cancerous tumors. He authored or co-authored 249 scholarly articles and textbooks on a host of surgical procedures. He designed many surgical instruments with some still being used in the 21st century. One being the clamp used on blood vessels during surgery to stop bleeding. In 1902 he was President of the German Society of Surgeons in Berlin and in 1905 President of the First International Surgical Congress in Brussels. After 1904, American surgeons were visiting his clinic for training averaging forty a year. American Neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing came for seven months. Kocher taught a generation of Jewish-Russian students who were not allow to study in Russia. He was a member of many learned medical societies including Russia, the United States, Finland, Germany Turkey, Austria, and especially England, as he traveled there eight times for conferences. Three years after receiving the Nobel Prize, he donated to Bern University the sum of 200,000 Swiss francs for a Research Institute in Biology, which today bears his name. He married and had three sons, his oldest became an assistant professor of surgery. By 1912 he had performed 5,000 thyroid excisions and had reduced the mortality in such surgery from 18 percent to less than 0.5 percent. When World War I started, he was very upset; he had given many lectures on the damages of bullets to the human body. On the evening of July 23, 1917, he was called to the hospital for an emergency surgery. He came home stating he did not feel well and was going to bed. During the night, he became comatose and died four days later. Like his mother, he had a strong religious faith, belonging to the Moravian Church. At the Kocher Park in Bern, there is a bronze bust of him. Besides numerous surgical instruments and surgical procedures, a volcano in Manchuria, a moon crater and the asteroid #2087 were named Kocher in his honor. Although some sources state he was the first Swiss to receive the Nobel Prize, in 1902 the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to two Swiss.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Linda Davis
  • Added: 28 Oct 2020
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 217792869
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/217792869/emil-theodor-kocher: accessed ), memorial page for Emil Theodor Kocher (21 Aug 1841–27 Jul 1917), Find a Grave Memorial ID 217792869, citing Bremgartenfriedhof Bern, Bern, Verwaltungskreis Bern-Mittelland, Bern, Switzerland; Maintained by Find a Grave .