Conrad Brunner (physician)

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Conrad Brunner (31 August 1859 in Diessenhofen – 8 June 1927 in Zurich) was a Swiss physician, surgeon and medical historian. He was particularly concerned with the disinfection of wounds and their healing.[1]

Brunner came from a family of Swiss physicians and pharmacists, among whom was Johann Conrad Brunner.[2] His father, John Brunner, was a physician and botanist.[2] Brunner received medical degrees from the University of Zurich and the University of Leipzig, and went on to receive an advanced academic degree of Doctor of Medicine in 1885.[2] He then completed his practical surgeon training studying under Rudolf Ulrich Krönlein.[2] Beginning in 1888 he took a series of trips to noted surgeries, studying under Theodor Billroth at the University of Vienna, Ernst von Bergmann at Humboldt University of Berlin, and other surgeons at the University of Leipzig, the University of Dresden and the University of Münich. In 1888, with the third volume in 1889, he published his Erfahrungen und Studien über Wundinfektion und Wundbehandlung.[3]


In 1889 Brunner married Clara Margot[2] and opened a private practice in Zurich, with privileges at a number of nearby hospitals. Beginning in 1890 he served as an associate professor of surgery at the University of Zurich, relinquishing the position in 1897.[2] From 1896 to 1922 he served as the chief physician at the Cantonal Hospital in Münsterlingen.[4][5] In 1922 he was the co-founder of the Thurgauisch-Schaffhausischen Pulmonary Sanatorium in Davos, primarily for tuberculosis sufferers.


Conrad Brunner conducted and published clinical, bacteriological and experimental studies on the effectiveness of various contemporary wound disinfection methods. He was able to prove that his method, namely the Brunner's Jodalkoholdesinfektion, offered by far the best guarantee against the occurrence of wound diseases.

Brunner researched and published on topics in the history of medicine, mostly as related to Switzerland.

Selected publications[edit]


  • 1921 Conrad Brunner received the Marcel Benoist Prize in recognition of his achievements in the field of wound care and wound disinfection.[4]
  • 1922 Conrad Brunner received an honorary philosophy doctorate from the University of Zurich for his research on the history of medicine.[2]


  1. ^ Barnhart, Clarence Lewis, ed. (1954). "Brunner, Conrad". The New Century Cyclopedia of Names. 1. Appleton-Century-Crofts. pp. 683–684. OCLC 174347730. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Koelbing, Huldrych M. F. "Geschichte: Brunner, Conrad (History: Brunner, Conrad)" (in German). Historischen Lexikon der Schweiz. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. 
  3. ^ Brunner, Conrad (1898). Erfahrungen und Studien über Wundinfektion und Wundbehandlung (Experiences and studies on wound infection and wound care). Frauenfeld, Switzerland: J. Huber. OCLC 14781957. 
  4. ^ a b "Past laureates: 1921 Conrad Brunner". The Marcel Benoist Foundation. Archived from the original on 17 March 2013. 
  5. ^ Studer, Karl; Ammann, Jürg (1990). 150 Jahre Münsterlingen: Das Thurgauische Kantonsspital und die Psychiatrische Klinik, 1840-1990. Thurgauisches Kantonsspital. OCLC 716678070. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Ritter, Adolf; Buess, Heinrich (1968). Conrad Brunner, 1859-1927: Sein Beitrag zur Aseptik und Antiseptik in der Wundbehandlung sowie zur Geschichte der Medizin (Conrad Brunner, 1859-1927: His contributions to aseptic and antiseptic wound care as well as to the history of medicine) (in German). Basel, Switzerland: Schwabe. OCLC 11676260. 

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