Olof af Acrel

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Olof af Acrel (26 November 1717 – 28 May 1806[1]), known before his ennoblement in 1780 as Olof Acrel, was a surgeon and physician of Stockholm, who perfected his knowledge by study in foreign countries and introduced many improvements into Swedish practice.

Olof af Acrel was born at Österåker, and was the brother of the missionary Israel Acrelius.[2] After attending Uppsala University for two years,[3] he trained as a surgeon in Stockholm. From 1740, he spent several years in Germany and France, studying at the University of Göttingen under Albrecht von Haller and also in Paris and Strasbourg. In 1743, during the War of the Austrian Succession, he was appointed acting chief surgeon at a French military hospital in Lauterbourg, Alsace. A year later, the town was captured by German troops and, after being briefly imprisoned, Acrel returned to Sweden.[4]

In 1752, he was appointed chief surgeon of the newly founded Seraphim Hospital in Stockholm,[5] and as professor of surgery in 1755.[4] He was awarded a doctorate of medicine by Uppsala University in 1760.[4]

Acrel's discourse on the Reforms necessary in Surgical Operations made a deep impression. So did his other works, On the Mode of Treating Recent Wounds; On Surgery in general; and On the Cataract of the Eye. He received many honours in recognition of his work.[6]

He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in 1746. He died in Stockholm.


  1. ^ Biographiskt lexikon öfver namnkunnige svenske män. – Ny rev. upplaga. – Stockholm [et al.]: Beijer [et al.], 1835–1875. – Bd. 1–23.
  2. ^ Kastrup, Allan (1975). The Swedish heritage in America: the Swedish element in America and American-Swedish relations in their historical perspective. Swedish Council of America. 
  3. ^ Hæger, Knut; Calne, Roy (2000). The illustrated history of surgery. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. pp. 166–167. ISBN 9781579583194. 
  4. ^ a b c Ljunggren, Bengt; Bruyn, G. W. (2002). "Olof+Acrel" The Nobel Prize in medicine and the Karolinska Institute: the story of Axel Key and Alfred Nobel. Karger Publishers. pp. 11–12. ISBN 9783805572972. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Kock, Wolfram (1970). "Medical education in Scandinavia since 1600". In O'Malley, Charles Donald. The History of medical education: an international symposium held February 5-9, 1968. UCLA forum in medical sciences. 12. University of California Press. p. 268. ISBN 9780520015784. Retrieved 27 March 2012. 
  6. ^ Rose, Hugh James (1857). "Acrel, Olof". A New General Biographical Dictionary. London: B. Fellowes et al. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kock, W. (1978-12-20). "Olof af Acrel—one of Serafimer Hospital's founders". Läkartidningen. 75 (51): 4791–5.  [Article in Swedish]