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Biographical entry Körte, Werner (1853 - 1937)

Hon FRCS 31 July 1913; MD Strassburg 1875.

21 October 1853
3 December 1937
General surgeon


Born 21 October 1853 in Berlin, son of Friedrich Körte, MD, he studied medicine at Bonn and under Lücke at Strassburg, where he graduated in 1875 and was assistant in the University surgical clinic 1874-76. During 1877-80 he was assistant to Wilms at the Bethanien Hospital, Berlin, and practised privately in Berlin till his appointment in 1890 as director of the surgical division of the new municipal hospital "am Urban" in Berlin, where he remained till 1924, having refused the professorship of surgery at Königsberg and the position of chefarzt to the Rudolph Virchow Hospital, Berlin. He served at the front throughout the war of 1914-18 as consultant to the 3rd Reserve Corps, and was awarded the Iron Cross (first class); his war experiences are recorded in his memoirs, published in 1929. He was a Geheimer-Sanitätsrat and a titular professor of Berlin University. He was chief editor to the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Chirurgie and twice its president, and president of the Berliner Gesellschaft für Chirurgie. He edited the Archiv fiir klinische Chirurgie for many years; vol 127 was dedicated to him as a Festschrift on his seventieth birthday and contains a portrait of him. He died after a long illness on 3 December 1937, aged 84.

Körte wrote on surgery of the pancreas 1898, peritonaeum 1903 and 1927, gall ducts and liver 1905, general abdominal surgery 1912 (5th edition, 1922), and abdominal war-surgery 1922. He is said to have possessed "a pair of dexterous long thin hands and a nervous system which never gave in and over which he had full control even in the most difficult situations". His operations were described as "an aesthetic pleasure" to watch. He was an excellent diagnostician and a man of great knowledge, but not a teacher, though a clear and concise lecturer and a witty talker. He was a true Prussian, honest, loyal, and direct, and an iron disciplinarian, but with a warm heart under his rough shell. His photograph is included in the Honorary Fellows album in the College library.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Dtsch med Wschr 1937, 63, 1923; Finska Liik Sälllsk Handl 1938, 81, 97, with portrait; Med Klinik, 1937, 33, 1727; Münch med Wschr 1938, 85, 102, with portrait; Zbl Chir 1937, 64, 2865].

The Royal College of Surgeons of England