Bioethics News

These Medical Terms Still Bear the Mark of the Third Reich

September 28, 2016

(Nautilus) – Dr. Hans Reiter achieved the one thing most likely to keep a physician’s name in textbooks forever: He got an illness named after him. While working as a medic in the German army in World War I, he once treated a case of simultaneous inflammation in the joints, eyes, and urethra. This became known as Reiter’s syndrome. But after his death in 1969, Reiter was revealed to be a rather unsavory eponym: He was a Nazi—not just another physician caught up in a Germany’s troubled times and forced into the party, but an avowed supporter and leader of the regime. He rose to president of the Reich Health Office, where he championed eugenics. And he approved human experiments in concentration camps, including typhus inoculations at Buchenwald that killed 250 prisoners.

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