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From orphanage to modern university clinic

The history of the Medical Faculty of Halle University spans 300 years and features a number of physicians and researchers whose scientific achievements have made them renowned far beyond the regional boundaries. The University Hospital left its mark on the development of the city. Medicine was also taught in Wittenberg in the 16th and 17th centuries.

17th century
At the ceremonial inauguration of Academia Fridericiana Halensis, the Medical Faculty was represented by Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742) and Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734), two outstanding physicians of the early Enlightenment period. While Friedrich Hoffmann stayed in the town on the Saale working at the local university until his death, Georg Ernst Stahl went to the Prussian Court at Berlin as personal physician and President of the Medical College (Collegium medicum). 

18th century
In its first two decades, the Medical Faculty significantly contributed to establishing the excellent reputation that Halle University enjoys internationally. This fact is also owed to Johann Juncker (1679-1759), an orphanage physician whose practice-oriented teaching associated with the system of consultation hours for the poor (Armensprechstunde) at the Francke'sche Anstalten attracted students and doctors with a readiness to learn from all over Europe.

1754 
Dorothea Christiana Erxleben (1715-1762) was the first female medical doctor to graduate in Germany. A daughter of a physician residing in Quedlinburg, she was encouraged from an early age and was awarded a doctorate in medicine by order of the Prussian King Frederic II. She was later engaged in medical work in her father's practice, where she experienced conflicts with resentful colleagues and, together with her husband Christian Erxleben, brought up four children.

Among the well-known medical doctors working in Halle at the end of the 18th century were members of the Meckel family, anatomical scientists whose collection of anatomical preparations can still be visited today. Johann Friedrich Goldhagen (1742-1788) and Johann Christian Reil (1759-1813) were two dedicated physicians and university teachers who also held the post of medical officer in the municipality.

1817
This second heyday period of the Halle Medical Faculty, whose legacy is due in no small means to the anatomical scientist Justus Christian Loder (1753-1832), was interrupted in 1806 by the Napoleonic wars. In 1807 J.C. Reil went to Kassel in his capacity as representative of the Halle Municipality to participate in the negotiations on the reopening of the university there. After having achieved this goal, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Philosophy. At the same time, the Medical Faculty received the building of the "Reformierte Gymnasium”, a former grammar school located at the Domplatz which dissolved in 1806 to be used as a university clinic. The building, then a modern-looking structure, still houses some of the University's biological institutes. In 1817 the universities in Halle and Wittenberg were merged. 

19th century
The internist Peter David Krukenberg (1787-1865) was one of the institution's most important medical personalities in the first half of the 19th century. His name is closely linked to the founding of the Polyclinic. Among his students was Heinrich Hoffmann, who later became known as the author of the "Struwelpeter” folk tale.

1875
Medicine began moving in the direction of the natural sciences and the ensuing modern treatment methods (e.g. anaesthesia, asepticism in surgery). This was influenced by the surgeon Richard von Volkmann (1830-1889), who was one of the leading surgeons in Germany in the second half of the century. His monument is in front of the old University Hospital, a building that was state of the art in the last three decades of the 19th century. It was from here that new disciplines (ophthalmology, otorhinolarynogology (ear, nose and throat medicine), dermatology and paediatrics) which had emerged from surgery and internal medicine, received vital impetus.

20th century
One name to be remembered from the beginning of the past century is that of Franz Volhard (1872-1950) whose research on the "nephrotic syndrome” opened up new vistas in medicine. In the 1920s, the internist Theodor Brugsch played a key role in the debate on the claim of a holistic approach to medicine. The establishment of close ties between the Medical Faculty and Germany's oldest scientific academy, the "Leopoldina” in Halle, was due to the physiologist and chemical scientist Emil Abderhalden (1877-1950). After 1945, cardiothoracic surgery and the treatment of renal diseases were the most important objectives of therapeutic and clinical research. In 1967 Heinz Rockstroh (born in 1920) conducted the first kidney transplant in the German Democratic Republic in Halle.

The construction of a modern hospital in Kröllwitz in the 1970s provided a second site for medical research and teaching at Halle University as well as a new centre for medical care and treatment.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and the subsequent end of the GDR, the University embarked on a course of complete reorientation.

On 11 May 1990, the Rector and the Senate of Martin Luther University were voted for in the first free election. On 1 October of the same year, the office of Chancellor was reintroduced and a Central University Administration was installed.

On 6 March 1997, the state parliament passed a law on the development of the medical disciplines in Sachsen-Anhalt, thus ensuring more autonomy in the economic management of the University Hospital. On 20 April 1998, the first sod was turned for the further expansion of Kröllwitz Clinical Centre.

21st century
Enlargement of the University Hospital on the Halle-Kröllwitz campus.
Building work began on the extension to the hospital in Halle-Kröllwitz in 1999 and was mainly completed by 2004. This substantial expansion is worth € 153 million. After the completion of this project, all clinics, with the exception of the Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine Clinic, the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Clinic for Head and Neck Surgery and the Centres for Dentistry, Psychiatry and Radiology, which are located in the town centre, were united on the Kröllwitz campus. The University Hospital's efficient economic management and the modern teaching and research complex housed in the new building enabled the University to now operate under ideal conditions.

Along with the expansion of the hospital, a new surgical complex containing 20 operating theatres, new intensive care units, a blood bank, a new central sterilisation unit and several polyclinic institutes were established. Repair work on the existing buildings has been gradually done parallel to the new construction work. Work on the first building to be renovated, Inpatient Building Complex I, started in August 1999 and was finished in 2001.

 

From orphanage to modern university clinic

The history of the Medical Faculty of Halle University spans 300 years and features a number of physicians and researchers whose scientific achievements have made them renowned far beyond the regional boundaries. The University Hospital left its mark on the development of the city. Medicine was also taught in Wittenberg in the 16th and 17th centuries.

17th century
At the ceremonial inauguration of Academia Fridericiana Halensis, the Medical Faculty was represented by Friedrich Hoffmann (1660-1742) and Georg Ernst Stahl (1660-1734), two outstanding physicians of the early Enlightenment period. While Friedrich Hoffmann stayed in the town on the Saale working at the local university until his death, Georg Ernst Stahl went to the Prussian Court at Berlin as personal physician and President of the Medical College (Collegium medicum).

18th century
In its first two decades, the Medical Faculty significantly contributed to establishing the excellent reputation that Halle University enjoys internationally. This fact is also owed to Johann Juncker (1679-1759), an orphanage physician whose practice-oriented teaching associated with the system of consultation hours for the poor (Armensprechstunde) at the Francke'sche Anstalten attracted students and doctors with a readiness to learn from all over Europe.

1754
Dorothea Christiana Erxleben (1715-1762) was the first female medical doctor to graduate in Germany. A daughter of a physician residing in Quedlinburg, she was encouraged from an early age and was awarded a doctorate in medicine by order of the Prussian King Frederic II. She was later engaged in medical work in her father's practice, where she experienced conflicts with resentful colleagues and, together with her husband Christian Erxleben, brought up four children.

Among the well-known medical doctors working in Halle at the end of the 18th century were members of the Meckel family, anatomical scientists whose collection of anatomical preparations can still be visited today. Johann Friedrich Goldhagen (1742-1788) and Johann Christian Reil (1759-1813) were two dedicated physicians and university teachers who also held the post of medical officer in the municipality.

1817
This second heyday period of the Halle Medical Faculty, whose legacy is due in no small means to the anatomical scientist Justus Christian Loder (1753-1832), was interrupted in 1806 by the Napoleonic wars. In 1807 J.C. Reil went to Kassel in his capacity as representative of the Halle Municipality to participate in the negotiations on the reopening of the university there. After having achieved this goal, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Faculty of Philosophy. At the same time, the Medical Faculty received the building of the "Reformierte Gymnasium”, a former grammar school located at the Domplatz which dissolved in 1806 to be used as a university clinic. The building, then a modern-looking structure, still houses some of the University's biological institutes. In 1817 the universities in Halle and Wittenberg were merged.

19th century
The internist Peter David Krukenberg (1787-1865) was one of the institution's most important medical personalities in the first half of the 19th century. His name is closely linked to the founding of the Polyclinic. Among his students was Heinrich Hoffmann, who later became known as the author of the "Struwelpeter” folk tale.

1875
Medicine began moving in the direction of the natural sciences and the ensuing modern treatment methods (e.g. anaesthesia, asepticism in surgery). This was influenced by the surgeon Richard von Volkmann (1830-1889), who was one of the leading surgeons in Germany in the second half of the century. His monument is in front of the old University Hospital, a building that was state of the art in the last three decades of the 19th century. It was from here that new disciplines (ophthalmology, otorhinolarynogology (ear, nose and throat medicine), dermatology and paediatrics) which had emerged from surgery and internal medicine, received vital impetus.

20th century
One name to be remembered from the beginning of the past century is that of Franz Volhard (1872-1950) whose research on the "nephrotic syndrome” opened up new vistas in medicine. In the 1920s, the internist Theodor Brugsch played a key role in the debate on the claim of a holistic approach to medicine. The establishment of close ties between the Medical Faculty and Germany's oldest scientific academy, the "Leopoldina” in Halle, was due to the physiologist and chemical scientist Emil Abderhalden (1877-1950). After 1945, cardiothoracic surgery and the treatment of renal diseases were the most important objectives of therapeutic and clinical research. In 1967 Heinz Rockstroh (born in 1920) conducted the first kidney transplant in the German Democratic Republic in Halle.

The construction of a modern hospital in Kröllwitz in the 1970s provided a second site for medical research and teaching at Halle University as well as a new centre for medical care and treatment.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and the subsequent end of the GDR, the University embarked on a course of complete reorientation.

On 11 May 1990, the Rector and the Senate of Martin Luther University were voted for in the first free election. On 1 October of the same year, the office of Chancellor was reintroduced and a Central University Administration was installed.

On 6 March 1997, the state parliament passed a law on the development of the medical disciplines in Sachsen-Anhalt, thus ensuring more autonomy in the economic management of the University Hospital. On 20 April 1998, the first sod was turned for the further expansion of Kröllwitz Clinical Centre.

21st century
Enlargement of the University Hospital on the Halle-Kröllwitz campus.
Building work began on the extension to the hospital in Halle-Kröllwitz in 1999 and was mainly completed by 2004. This substantial expansion is worth € 153 million. After the completion of this project, all clinics, with the exception of the Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine Clinic, the Ear, Nose and Throat Clinic, Clinic for Head and Neck Surgery and the Centres for Dentistry, Psychiatry and Radiology, which are located in the town centre, were united on the Kröllwitz campus. The University Hospital's efficient economic management and the modern teaching and research complex housed in the new building enabled the University to now operate under ideal conditions.

Along with the expansion of the hospital, a new surgical complex containing 20 operating theatres, new intensive care units, a blood bank, a new central sterilisation unit and several polyclinic institutes were established. Repair work on the existing buildings has been gradually done parallel to the new construction work. Work on the first building to be renovated, Inpatient Building Complex I, started in August 1999 and was finished in 2001.