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Family Medicine in the Ottoman Empire: رهب صحت [Rehber-i Sıhhat / Guide to Health].



8°: 156 pp. with black and white images, dark green illustrated wrappers (good overall, small tears, small folds and chips to corners, wrappers slightly stained and water-stained, tiny tears and loss of paper to spine, corner of front cover repaired).


1 in stock


The chief imperial physician Muhiddin was one of the leading medical figures of the era of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (1876 – 1909) and one of the first Ottoman doctors to promote family medicine.

n 1900, he wrote a work on diphtheria titled İhtâr Yahud Kuşpalazı, which was revolutionary in that it was not intended for medical doctors, but for the parents of young children in order to educate them about this deadly disease which was afflicting Istanbul. In this work he sought to discredit the practices of old superstitious healing, which was traditionally performed by elderly women upon children.

In the present work, Dr. Muhiddin blamed many parents for the death of their children, as modern medicine had often progressed sufficiently to save their lives from many diseases or injuries. He was highly critical of the tendency of these parents to consult traditional witch doctors before rushing their children to hospitals, whereupon it was often too late.

In this manual on general family medicine, Dr. Muhiddin provides information on anatomy, contemporary diseases, while encouraging trust in science, and rejecting superstition.

The present example is of the first edition of the work; the second edition was issued 6 years later.

References: AEKMK – BDK – MİL – ÖZEGE; 16656. Cf. Berrak BURÇAK, Hekimbaşızâde Doktor Muhyiddin’in Kaleminden Geç Osmanlı Döneminde Kuşpalazı (difteri) ile Mücadelenin Zorlukları: “Valideyne İhtar Yahud Kuş Palazı”, Toplumsal Tarih: “Maraz-ı Sârî, Emrâz-ı Müstevlî: Tarihte Salgın Hastalıklar” (2018), pp. 64-69.

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