Article: A Physician’s Encounter with Epidemics: Courage vis-á-vis Ignorance by Fatih Artvinli

Italian physician Dr. Luigi Mongeri (1815–82), who graduated from the School of Medicine in Pavia and worked as chief physician at Süleymaniye and Toptaşı Lunatic Asylums, introduced important reforms that shaped modern psychiatry in the Ottoman Empire. Before the appointment to Süleymaniye, Mongeri worked as a sanitary physician in the International Quarantine Organization from 1840 to 1849. This article examines Mongeri’s encounter with epidemics while focusing on his work on cholera. With this in mind, I will try to bring Mongeri’s experiences and challenges to today’s scenario and discuss them within the context of COVID-19 pandemic. A physician’s life during cholera years does not teach us directly about today’s pandemic, but learning from a physician’s perspective may show us how the epidemics and pandemics are not merely matters of health, but also matters of politics and behavioural patterns of the society.

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