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Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia (Physician, Anatomist) 1510-1580


Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Demographics:
  • Name - Dr Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia
  • Born - ca. 1510
  • Birthplace - Regalbuto, near Palermo, Sicily.
  • Death - November 6, 1580.
  • Death Location - Palermo, Sicily.
  • Burial - Entombed in the chapel of Santa Barbara in Palermo.
  • Nationality - Italian
  • Occupation - Physician & anatomist.
  • Status - Worked amongst the rich & powerful.
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia General Information:
  • Was known as the Sicilian Hippocrates.
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Education:
  • First studied medicine in Palermo with Giovanni Battista di Pietra.
  • Continued his studies in the Medical Faculty of the University of Padua.
  • Attended classes of Hierunymus Fabrizio ab Acquapendente (1537-1619), Bartolomeu Eustachi (1510-1574) & Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564).
  • He was particularly close to Vesalius.
  • Filippo Ingrassia received the M.D. degree in 1537.
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Professional Life (important dates):
  • 1544 - Invited to the chair of practical and theoretical medicine, including anatomy, at the University of Naples in 1544.
  • 1556 - Through the recommendation of the Spanish viceroy of Sicily & by decree of Philip II of Spain, Filippo Ingrassia was called to Palermo as archiater – Protomedico generale – protomedicus.
  • 1562 - Celebrated case, involving Giovanni d’Arragona the marquis of Terranova, where he treated a traumatic lung empyema and obtained advice from Vesalius.
  • 1563 - Philip II made him chief physician to Sicily & the neighbouring islands.
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Professional Legacy:
  • As the protomedicus, Ingrassia was concerned particularly with problems of hygiene, epidemiology, & the general practice of Sicilian medicine.
  • He controlled Palermo's endemic malaria with drainage of marshes.
  • Developed isolation hospitals (lazzeratti) which helped with the control of the plague epidemics of 1575 & 1577.
  • Probably the first to comment about clustering of deaths within households as one of the most consistent signs of the plague.
  • He was the first to distinguish between chicken pox & scarlet fever, making the first description of both.
  • His based his description of scarlet fever on a Palermo epidemic in 1564.
  • Known as the founder of legal medicine.
  • Also made contributions to veterinary medicine.
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Anatomical Legacy:
  • Best known for his anatomical studies, based upon the methods of Vesalius.
  • Investigated & described the sutures of the skull in minute detail.
  • Detailed description of the sphenoid bone and its sinuses, as well as of the ethmoid.
  • Anatomists have given his name to the small wings of the sphenoid bone.
  • Particularly knowledgeable about the auditory ossicle, the stapes, calling it stapha (shape of the stirrup commonly used in Sicily).
  • He discovered the stapes in 1546.
  • Considered a founder of osteology.
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Quotes:
"never called by low people of this sort" ~ in his 1576 tract on the plague, writing about the poverty stricken amongst which the pestilence first spread.

He was not one of the "base physicians who attend people of this kind," those "poor, sickly-looking people full to overwhelming with the coarsest and filthiest humors."
Giovanni Filippo Ingrassia Bibliography:
  • 1544 - Iatroplologia etc. Venice, 1544, 1558.
  • 1549 - Scholia in iatropologiam. Naples, 1549.
  • 1553 - De tumoribus prater naturam, tomus primus. Naples, 1553.
  • 1560 - Raggionamento fatto sopra l’infermità epidemica dell’ anno 1558. Palermo, 1560.
  • 1560 - Trattato assai bello et utile dei doi mostri nati in Palermo in diversi tempi. Palermo, Giovanni Matteo Mayda, 1560.
  • 1564 - Constitutiones et capitula necnon jurisdictiones regii protomedicatus officii cum pandectis eiusdem reformatis. Palermo, 1564; 1567.
  • 1568 - Quaestio de purgatione per medicamentum. . . . Illustrissimi ducis Terraenovae casus enarratio . . . . Quaestio utrum victus. 4 parts in 1 volume. Venice: Sumptibus Angeli Patessii, 1568.
  • 1573 - Quaestio de purgatione per medicamentum atque obiter etiam de sanguinis missione, an sexta die possit fieri. Venice, 1573.
  • 1573 - Galeni ars medica. Venice, 1573.
  • 1575 - De frigidae potu post medicamentum purgans epistola. Venice, 1575; Milano 1586.
  • 1575 - Informazione del pestifero e contaggioso morbo il quale afligge et have afflicto la citta di Palermo . . . . nell’ anno 1575 e 1576. Palermo, 1576.
  • 1578 - Methodus dandi relationes pro mutilatis torquendis aut a tortura excusandi, pro deformibus, venenalisque judicandis; pro elephantliacis, extra urbem propulsandis, sive intus urbem sequestrandis, vel fortassis publice conservari dimittendis. Venice 1578 & 1637.
  • Posthumous - In Galeni librum de ossibus doctissima et expectatissima commentaria . . . Quibus appositus est Græcus Galeni contextus, una cum ... ejusdem Ingrassiæ in Latinum versione.
References:
Joseph Patrick Byrne (2006).
Daily life during the Black Death. Greenwood (August 30, 2006)


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