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History 21 Aug 2018

First texts of medicine

Dr. José Eleuterio González, relates that he made his students read the most outstanding French anatomists, such as Maygrier, Cruveilhier, Béclard, among others.

At the beginning of the teaching of medicine in Nuevo León, in the mid-nineteenth century, in addition to political and economic instability throughout the national territory, which often impaired the realization of the chairs, there was another factor to be taken into account. What would the first medical students read? Dr. José Eleuterio González, relates that he made his students read the most outstanding French anatomists, such as Maygrier, Cruveilhier, Béclard, among others.

Ygnacio Martínez, who was part of the first generation of the Medical School of Nuevo León, when presenting his thesis, commented on the difficulties students had to study without having enough textbooks, “… we had to fight with all kind of inconvenience. The shortage of text works, because there have been occasions when the whole chair had to study in a single copy and others that we had to write what we should learn later. ”

The printing of publications in Nuevo León is scarce, and that of works with medical themes is not said, approximately in 1860, "Gonzalitos" begins to systematically publish hymns, speeches, odes and reports.

In 1863, the first book of Medicine, by Dr. José Eleuterio González, printed by the Government Printing Office, was published in his “Elemental Treaty of General Anatomy, written by the professor in Anatomy José Eleuterio González for the use of the Civil College” , its author refers: “I do not intend to go as an author, nor do I write for teachers; but for my disciples. Out of imperative need, seeing that it was not possible to acquire the necessary books to teach General Anatomy, I decided to write this small treatise, only so that my disciples would not waste the year. I have taken the subjects of the authors that I could have at hand; I don't mention them at every step because I don't multiply the quotes and make reading this notebook annoying; and I will do it only when I quote some passage textually. None of what is on this side is mine; I have taken everything from what I have read and many things, I do not even know where I have seen them. I think this confession is enough not to incur the plagiarist note. ”

In the subsequent twenty years, Gonzalitos would have been responsible for the production of textbooks for his students, ranging from oral lessons, reports related to the operation of the Hospital and Medical School, advances in his research on public health, and innovative catalogs about the local pharmacopoeia. Even, leaving a manuscript book, which he failed to publish, the same year of his death.

This without counting his valuable work in the history of Nuevo León, which is why he is considered the pioneer of regional historiography. It was clear that the training of doctors not only required a hospital-school, but also an extensive and updated collection of textbooks.