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E D I T O R I A L

DR KARL BAYER - CENTENNIAL OF THE FIRST
NEUROSURGICAL OPERATION IN BOSNIA

Current year is a very good opportunity to remember Dr Karl Bayer who performed the first operations on the skull and brain in Bosnia using the modern European technique.In the year 1891, Dr Karl Bayer, in the hospital named Vakufska bolnica (Muslim Charitable Hospital),operated three patients suffering from cerberal fits caused by the depressed fracture and penetration of bone fragments in the brain.
It happened in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is central Yugoslav state nowadays. During the Middle Ages Bosnia was an independent kingdom. Like the other states of Southern Slaves it was occupied by Turks. The occupation lasted over four hundred years and under the Ottoman rule Bosnia was the province with special significance. European influence in Bosnia was interrupted, and started again after 1878 when Austro-Hungarian Empire took Bosnia ovcr.At the end of the Turkish period, in 1876 the first hospital named Vakufska bolnica (Muslim Charitable Hospital) was established in the main city-Sarajevo.
Dr Karl Bayer was Bohemian and came in Bosnia after the Austro-Hungarian occupation. Bohemia and Bosnia as well, at that time, were parts of the same empire. He was unaccustomed to surgery, and without neurosurgical training. In spite of it, in 1891 he perfomed three operations of postraumatic epilepsy, after the depressed fractures with bone fragments in the brain. It was an act of the bravery, because the period of the postraumatic epilepsy lasted over several months, and patients were without neurological deficit. All three patients survived and their fits subsided or ceased.
In its long history Bosnia has always been and still is nowadays a mixture of nations, religions, influences and cultures. Certainly it was the reason why a foreigner as Dr Karl Bayer was, have been accepted easily. Moreover after his retirement he lived in Bosnia like a very honorable citizen.
With Dr Karl Bayer and Vakufska bolnica (Muslim Charitable Hospital) started a new era. It was the beginning of the neurological surgery in this area, and the Department of neurosurgery in Sarajevo is the successor of these traditions gained a hundred years ago, under very difficult conditions.

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