Freyberger, Ludwig

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Freyberger, Ludwig

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1865 - 1934


Born in Krems, Austria, on 22nd of May 1865.

He studied medicine at the University of Vienna and qualified in 1889. He was House Physician, House Surgeon, and Clinical Assistant at Vienna General Hospital.

In 1892, he moved to London and became Clinical Assistant at the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street. He qualified MRCS 1893 and MRCP 1894. He was Honorary Physician at the St Pancras and Northern Dispensary, and served as pathologist, museum curator and registrar at the Great Northern Central Hospital. According to the Medical Registry of 1904 he was also a barrister at law at the Middle Temple and a toxicologist.

He became a member of the Pathological Society of London in 1896 and in 1902 was appointed as the post mortem examiner for the South-Western District of London by the coroner, John Troutbeck, just as the London County Council announced that the post-mortem examinations of cases of a special nature must be done by a skilled pathologist unless the coroner was satisfied with the skills of the treating physician. In this role he served as the post mortem examiner on cases such as the murders of the serial poisoner George Chapman, the death of James Whitaker Wright who was charged with fraud, and the death of the American journalist and author Harold Frederic. The number of cases that were referred by Troutbeck to Dr Freyberger for a post mortem was not popular with doctors in the South Western District due to loss of fees (2 guineas for post mortems, 1 guinea for inquests), however, and there was an oingoing campaign against the two men from the British Medical Association, the Lancet, the British Medical Journal, the Times, The Daily Telegraph and the Standard. As a result, after Troutbeck's death in 1912 Freyberger's practice as a pathologist was finished.

He received British citizenship in 1897, which was revoked in 1919 due to anti-German sentiment in Britain at the time. It was reported in the London Gazette and the British Medical Journal, where it said that he had 'shown himself by act an speech to be dissaffected and disloyal to His Majesty'.

He married Louise Kautsky in 1894 and the same year the couple had a daughter, Louise Frieda. The family lived in a house at 41 Regent's Park Road with Friedrich Engels until Engels' death in 1895. Freyberger was Engels' doctor.

He published the 'Pocket Formulary for the Treatment of Disease in Children' (1898), 'The Treatment of Tabetic Ataxia by Means of Systemic Exercise' (1902), and 'The Practitioner's Pocket Pharmacology and Formulary' (1917).

He died on the 22nd of August 1934 at a hotel in Buxton, Derbyshire, with his estate valued at nil.


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  • English



The British Medical Journal, the Wellcome Library, Wikipedia, D. Zuck, 'Mr Troutbeck as the Surgeon's Friend: The Coroner and the Doctors - An Edwardian Comedy', Medical History, 39:3 (1995): 259-287. The Wellcome Library holds a collection of reports of post mortems conducted by Ludwig Freyberger.

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