Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tytus Chałubiński (1820–1889)

Avi Ohry
Tel Aviv, Israel


Chalubinski IV High School in Radom, Poland.

Tytus Chałubiński was a distinguished Polish physician, naturalist, botanist, educator, and philosopher. He was born in Radom, a town south of Warsaw where a high school and a hospital are named after him.

From 1838 to 1840, Chałubiński studied medicine at the Medical-Surgical Academy in Vilnius (now in Lithuania, but at the time part of Poland). He then studied natural sciences in Dorpat (Tartu) and finally in Germany in Würzburg. His thesis, reflecting his love of botany, was on sexual reproduction in plants.

In 1845, he moved to Warsaw to study the history of botany and to work at the Evangelic Hospital under Ferdynand Dworzaczek, the founder of the Warsaw school of internal medicine.

The author at Chalubinski’s memorial (which features his personal aide) in Zakopane, Poland.

The Russian occupation of Poland forced him to change his focus to botany and mineralogy, and he moved to the town of Zakopane in the deep south of Poland at the foot of the Tatra Mountains. He took part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-1849. In 1849 he was nominated as the secretary of the Warsaw Medical Society. As Professor of the Medical-Surgical Academy and Principal School at the Warsaw, he worked and lectured from 1858 to 1871. In 1874, he published a book on the holistic approach in medicine, The Method of Finding Therapeutic Indications (1874).

Because most of the material on him was published in Polish, I asked my colleague and friend, Dr. Maria Ciesielska from Warsaw, Poland, to add this information:

Since 1873 Chałubiński spent the summer in Zakopane every year, working on the development of the region. Each time he came to Podtatra, the inhabitants sent an honorary procession to meet him, built a makeshift triumphal gate, and shot firearms to cheer him. In July 1887 he suffered a stroke in Zakopane. He survived but remained partially paralyzed. Due to his inability to practice medicine, he decided to settle permanently in Zakopane, where he built his house.

In Zakopane, he helped fight an epidemic of cholera and established a tuberculosis sanatorium. He pioneered climatic therapy in the Tatra Mountains and established there a climatic spa. He collected specimens of mosses, algae, and other plants, and his natural history collections are now held in the Tatra Mountains Museum in Zakopane.



  1. “Tytus Chałubiński.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tytus_Cha%C5%82ubi%C5%84ski.
  2. Manteuffel-Szoege L. Czy legenda o Chalubińskim? [The Chalubiński legend?]. Arch Hist Med (Warsz). 1971;34(1):33-9.
  3. Kolankowski Z. Tytus Chalubiński a jego epoka [Tytus Chalubiński and his times]. Arch Hist Med (Warsz). 1971;34(1):1-3.
  4. Konopka S. Tytus Chalubiński–wybitny lekarz, uczony i wychowawca młodziezy lekarskiej [Tytus Chalubiński–outstanding physician, scholar and educator]. Arch Hist Med (Warsz). 1971;34(1):5-13..
  5. Lowy I. The Polish School of Philosophy of Medicine From Tytus Chalubinski (1820-1889) to Ludwik Fleck (1896-1961). Kluwer Academic Publishers; 1990: 13-36.
  6. Kempa ME, [Professor Tytus Chałubinski–symbol for the physician and citizen (on the centenary of his death)]. Wiad Lek 1990;43(3-4):162-5.
  7. Chałubiński Tytus. Encyklopedia PWN. https://encyklopedia.pwn.pl/haslo/Chalubinski-Tytus;3884607.html.



AVI OHRY, MD, is married with two daughters. He is Emeritus Professor of Rehabilitation Medicine at Tel Aviv University, the former director of Rehabilitation Medicine at Reuth Medical and Rehabilitation Center in Tel Aviv, and a member of The Lancet‘s Commission on Medicine & the Holocaust. He conducts award-winning research in neurological rehabilitation, bioethics, medical humanities and history, and on long-term effects of disability and captivity. He plays the drums with three jazz bands.


Summer 2023  |  Sections  |  Physicians of Note

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