Eicken, Carl Otto von.

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Eicken, Carl Otto von, born 31-12-1873, in Mühlheim am Ruhr was a German otorhinolaryngologist. Carl studied medicine at the universities of Kiel, Geneva, Munich, Berlin and Heidelberg, where he served as an assistant to surgeon Vincenz Czerny

He received his habilitation for laryngo-rhinology (1903) and otology (1909) at the University of Freiburg, and in 1911 became a full professor at the University of Giessen, where subsequently, he was named head of the newly constructed ear, nose and throat clinic. In 1920/21 he served as university rector. In 1922 he succeeded Gustav Killian (a former teacher) at the University of Berlin, where he maintained a professorship up until 1950.May 1935, november 1944, he removed polyp from the left vocal cord of Adolf Hitler

 . Gustav Killian  24-02-1921, age 60, Berlin, Germany

Von Eick is largely known for developing methods of examination for the throat and pharynx. The eponymous “Eicken’s method” is facilitation of hypopharyngoscopy by means of forward traction on the cricoid cartilage by a laryngeal probe. He was the author of over 100 medical works — with Alfred Schulz van Treeck, he published an atlas on ear, nose and throat diseases, titled Atlas der Hals-, Nasen-, Ohren-Krankheiten (1940). ​

Alfred Schulz van Treeck first dealt with otorhinolaryngology as a scientific draftsman and photographer. Later he became a doctor himself and gave together with his patron Carl von Eicken published an atlas of ear, nose and throat diseases, which is still one of the outstanding atlases in our field

The removal of a polyp approximately one centimetre in size from the vocal cords of his patient proceeded without complications, and the history of the 20th century ran its monstrous course.

Although the files record a certain «Adolf Müller», the 46-year old patient with the distinctive two-finger moustache above his upper lip was in fact Adolf Hitler, the greatest mass murderer of mankind. Carl Otto von Eicken, 62 years old at the time, literally had it in his hands to change the world, but he decided to remain a doctor.

Much is known about Hitler’s state of health, and there are books about his amphetamine addiction, but strangely enough one of his greatest instruments of power is often excluded – his voice, which became increasingly hoarse from 1935 due to his speeches with which he mobilised the masses. Hitler, «the greatest orator of the German tongue», as the literary critic Marcel Reich-Ranicki referred to him, was a hypochondriac; he was constantly afraid of succumbing to cancer of the throat as had Kaiser Friedrich III. and of losing his voice – Carl Otto von Eicken was the man who gave it back to him.

Whether Carl Otto von Eicken supported Hitler’s racial doctrine is difficult to judge. According to research by his Swiss great-great-grandson Robert Doepgen and his mother, he joined the Nazi medical association quite late, on 20-02-1942, which indicates a certain unease. It is also questionable whether he was a member of the NSDAP, as were around 45% of the German medical profession. In a questionnaire of 1936, he denied being a party member, and yet a party number appears in his personnel file.

On the other hand, it is certain that as a respected member of the Medical Faculty of the Berlin Charité he observed, from 1933, how his Jewish medical colleagues were dismissed and disappeared, and how the social Darwinism-oriented eugenics as the new guiding ideology subverted the Hippocratic oath to help all people. As a doctor, von Eicken no longer served humanity but the Führer, but did he have another choice?

Death and burial ground of Eicken, Carl Otto von.

If  Carl von Eicken had used his scalpel to make a cut just a few millimetres further along and fatally injured the patient lying before him in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin on this 23-05-1935, he would have been able to prevent untold misery and save millions of people from death. Von Eicken, Carl Otto died 29-06-1960, age 86 in Heilbronn and is buried at the Waldfriedhof of Dahlem, Berlin.

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