Trnka Vaclav – Central European Anatomist and Medical Polymath of the Eighteenth Century

D. Kachlik, I. Varga, J. Zupanic, A. D. Szekely
2020 Bratislava Medical Journal  
Vaclav Trnka from Křovice (1739-1791, in Latin: Wenzel Trnka Krzowitz) was a remarkable physician whose life serves as an example in the history of medicine by connecting major capital cities of Central Europe. In view of current geographical layout, he was born and brought up in the Czech Republic, graduated from University of Vienna in Austria, and was appointed Professor of the Anatomy at the newly established Faculty of Medicine of University of Nagyszombat, presently Trnava in Slovak
more » ... ic. When the University moved to Buda and later to Pest (today Budapest, Hungary), he was the first educator to introduce anatomy as a medical subject to be taught in a Hungarian medical school. He also was elected the Dean of Faculty of Medicine three times and in 1786-1787 he acted as Rector of then the Royal University of Pest. During his life, he published twenty-seven monographs dealing with different areas of clinical medicine, such as malaria (intermittent fever), diabetes, and rickets. Based on these monographs we can proclaim that Václav Trnka was a co-founder of modern infectology, diabetology and ophthalmology in Central Europe. Nowadays, artificial intelligence and bioinformatics are inseparable parts of modern health care system which help the transformation of big data into valuable knowledge. In the 18th century, Professor Trnka owned more than 3,000 scientific books and had natural, innate intelligence and wisdom which made him a real "medical polymath". As a musician, Trnka also composed sixty-one canons, two of them long wrongly considered as Mozart's work. Despite the fact that Trnka is considered to be the founder of Hungarian anatomy education and a major medical figure of the eighteenth century Central Europe, no internationally acclaimed biographical record of his life or work has so far been published in English. Therefore, we would like to reintroduce Václav Trnka both as an anatomist and medical polymath, and to give an overview of the early days of anatomy teaching in present-day Slovakia and Hungary (Fig. 1, Ref. 27). Keywords: Trnka from Křovice, anatomist, medical polymath, history of medicine.
doi:10.4149/bll_2020_013 pmid:31950845 fatcat:tw2mwvyw3bbaladcb4f7vohhjy