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Modern Medical Terms Still Named after Nazi Doctors

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | about a year and a half ago

Medicine 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "Ilana Yurkiewicz writes that in 1977, a group of doctors began a campaign to change the name of an inflammatory arthritis after discovering it was named after Hans Conrad Julius Reiter, a Nazi doctor who planned and performed gruesome forced human experimentation that killed thousands. The doctors suggested that the inflammatory arthritis then known as “Reiter’s syndrome” should change its name to “reactive arthritis.” In 2003, a group of rheumatology journal editors decided against continued use of the eponym in their journals and the official retraction from the doctors who originally proposed the eponym came in 2009. "The campaign to remove Reiter’s name should not actually have been morally ambiguous," writes Yurkiewicz. "Medical eponyms are meant to honor individuals who contributed to the field. Torture and murder are not things we wish to honor." Since then, other medical eponyms tied to Nazi crimes have surfaced. The “Clara cell,” a type of cell lining the airways to the lungs, was named after Max Clara, an “active and outspoken Nazi” who made his discovery using tissues from murdered Third Reich victims. Then there is Friedrich Wegner of the vessel disease “Wegener’s granulomatosis”: Wegener joined the brownshirts eight months before Hitler seized power, joined the Nazi party in 1933, worked in “close proximity to the genocide machinery in Lodz,” and was wanted as a war criminal. "The least we can do is erase any praise of him and others like him," concludes Yurkiewicz. "Saying their actions were deeply antithetical to the values of modern medicine is an understatement.""

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