Andreas Vesalius Essay

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Fundamentals of Health Care Andreas Vesalius 1514-1564 Andreas Vesalius was the founder of modern human anatomy. Before him, there were a few early attempts on studying the human body. He lived in a time of monumental historical changes: of intellectual growth and stimulation, of political and religious restructuring, of wars and plagues. Vesalius was born on December 31, 1514 in Brussels, Habsburg Netherlands. He grew up in an enriched intellectual environment, received a quality education, and like his father and grandfather before him, was drawn to medicine. Vesalius’ interest was in the study of human anatomy. Like many other Renaissance physicians and artists, Andreas Vesalius was driven by a desire to know the human body in all its parts and aspects. An irresistible urge to dissect had mastered him even as a child, periodically leaving in its wake, a path of dismembered neighborhood dogs, cats, mice, and moles that had succumbed to his curiosity. Vesalius was sent to Paris to study medicine. Once there, he was greatly disappointed to find that his anatomy teachers were content on teaching the ways of Galen while poking around in the bodies of dead dogs. Galen, a Greek doctor who had lived in the 3rd century BC, had been the standard of knowledge about human anatomy for almost 2000 years. Searching for more rigorous training in anatomy, Vesalius left Paris and returned to Brussels, where, risking imprisonment, he stole a body from the gallows to acquire a complete human skeleton. Vesalius moved on to the University of Padua, where he received his medical degree in 1537 and was appointed professor of surgery and anatomy. Here, as elsewhere, anatomical demonstrations were highly ritualized events, with the professor seated above the corpse reading from a Galen text, the surgeon dissecting, and the demonstrator pointing to the indicated parts of the

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