Domus Christi – The House Of Christ

“Take your cross and follow me!”

That is a Latin inscription on a medallion above the entrance to Domus Christi, the first opened public hospice in Dubrovnik. It’s a tribute to Jesus and his suffering for humankind.

In 1347, Domus Christi – a hospice was opened in Dubrovnik, under the supervision of the Dubrovnik government. In the beginning, it wasn’t a hospital. It was just a shelter for poor, elder homeless citizens, mostly women. Over time, health care had been provided for them, as well.

In 1540 this hospice was turned into a public hospital. Physicians and surgeons were on duty permanently, similar to modern hospitals today. Twice a day, a doctor had to check all the patients.

In those days, just men were hospital patients. Women couldn’t stay in the hospital. They stayed at home, under the supervision of the doctor. However, the Franciscans had opened a few hospices, for poor women without family care.

Amazingly, the first hernia surgery was performed in this hospital already in 1376. Surgeries were regular in this hospital. In 1847, just one year after the discovery of ether narcosis, two surgeons from Dubrovnik applied it, during the breast cancer operation.

In 1888, a new, modern hospital was built outside the Walls. Domus Christi has once again become what it was in the beginning, a nursing home. It still works today.

The most famous doctors from Dubrovnik’s history

Amatus Lusitanus or Amato Lusitano, born as João Rodrigues de Castelo Branco (Castelo Branco, Portugal, 1511– Thessaloniki, Ottoman Empire, 1568) worked in Dubrovnik from 1556 to 1558.

This Jew from Portugal practiced medicine in Portugal, Antwerp, and Italy. He was a professor of anatomy at the Medical University in Ferrara. He became a personal physician of the pope Julius III. After Julius died, his successor pope Paul IV had started a persecution of Jews. Therefore, Lusitanus escaped in Dubrovnik, where he had a private practice for 2 years. His most important work is the Seven Centurions on Medical Treatment where 100 cases are from his Dubrovnik medical practice. Among them, he described the treatment of syphilis and impotency in Dubrovnik.

Gjuro Armeno Baglivi (Dubrovnik, 1668 – Rome, 1707), as an orphan, at the age of 15, was adopted in the Baglivi family in Lecce, Italy. In 1691, he became the personal physician of the pope Inocento XII. After his death, Gjuro remained in service for a new pope Klement IX. He was a member of the Royal Academy of England and the French Academy of science.

Luka Stulli (Dubrovnik, 1772 – Dubrovnik, 1828), not just a physician, but also a historian and poet, was a member of the Roman Accademia degli Arcadi. He introduced the first vaccination in Dubrovnik, during the smallpox epidemic on Balkan, at the end of the 19th century.

Latin inscription on a medallion above the entrance to Domus Christi

Domus Christi – The House Of Christ

“Take your cross and follow me!”

That is a Latin inscription on a medallion above the entrance to Domus Christi, the first opened public hospice in Dubrovnik. It’s a tribute to Jesus and his suffering for humankind.

In 1347, Domus Christi – a hospice was opened in Dubrovnik, under the supervision of the Dubrovnik government. In the beginning, it wasn’t a hospital. It was just a shelter for poor, elder homeless citizens, mostly women. Over time, health care had been provided for them, as well.

In 1540 this hospice was turned into a public hospital. Physicians and surgeons were on duty permanently, similar to modern hospitals today. Twice a day, a doctor had to check all the patients.

In those days, just men were hospital patients. Women couldn’t stay in the hospital. They stayed at home, under the supervision of the doctor. However, the Franciscans had opened a few hospices, for poor women without family care.

Amazingly, the first hernia surgery was performed in this hospital already in 1376. Surgeries were regular in this hospital. In 1847, just one year after the discovery of ether narcosis, two surgeons from Dubrovnik applied it, during the breast cancer operation.

In 1888, a new, modern hospital was built outside the Walls. Domus Christi has once again become what it was in the beginning, a nursing home. It still works today.

The most famous doctors from Dubrovnik’s history

Amatus Lusitanus or Amato Lusitano, born as João Rodrigues de Castelo Branco (Castelo Branco, Portugal, 1511– Thessaloniki, Ottoman Empire, 1568) worked in Dubrovnik from 1556 to 1558.

This Jew from Portugal practiced medicine in Portugal, Antwerp, and Italy. He was a professor of anatomy at the Medical University in Ferrara. He became a personal physician of the pope Julius III. After Julius died, his successor pope Paul IV had started a persecution of Jews. Therefore, Lusitanus escaped in Dubrovnik, where he had a private practice for 2 years. His most important work is the Seven Centurions on Medical Treatment where 100 cases are from his Dubrovnik medical practice. Among them, he described the treatment of syphilis and impotency in Dubrovnik.

Gjuro Armeno Baglivi (Dubrovnik, 1668 – Rome, 1707), as an orphan, at the age of 15, was adopted in the Baglivi family in Lecce, Italy. In 1691, he became the personal physician of the pope Inocento XII. After his death, Gjuro remained in service for a new pope Klement IX. He was a member of the Royal Academy of England and the French Academy of science.

Luka Stulli (Dubrovnik, 1772 – Dubrovnik, 1828), not just a physician, but also a historian and poet, was a member of the Roman Accademia degli Arcadi. He introduced the first vaccination in Dubrovnik, during the smallpox epidemic on Balkan, at the end of the 19th century.

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