Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Research

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A Brief Historical Survey of Transplantations (From The Origins to the First Decades of the 20th Century)

Musitelli S, Oddenino R

“Those diseases that medicines do not cure are cured by the knife. Those that the knife does not cure are cured by fire. Those that fire does not cure must be considered incurable”. One may read these words in Aphorisms, VII, 821 of the so-called “Corpus Hippocraticum”. Be or be not Hippocrates (c.469-c.399 B.C.) himself the author2 there is no difference: the few lines (3 in the Greek text!) witness that in the most ancient Greek medicine – and mainly in the field of medical deontology3 – surgery performed either with the knife, or with the cautery was nothing else than a therapeutic means, which the physician had recourse to whenever diet and medicinesfailed. Even if one may find some treatises on surgery, which show an exceptional skilfulness4 , this does not absolutely mean that the “iatrós” – i.e., the real “physician” – himself performed surgeries.