From Eugenic Euthanasia to Habilitation of ``Disabled'' Children: Andreas Rett's Contribution Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Although the name of Andreas Rett is familiar to many from his eponymous neurogenetic syndrome, his other achievements involving the care of disabled children deserve special attention. His tireless advocacy helped to bring fundamental changes in the medical and societal attitude toward disabled individuals in a city that had recently seen more than 7500 disabled children and inmates of psychiatric hospitals actively euthanized by National Socialist (Nazi) decree. Most notably, this study demonstrates the remarkable changes that can be achieved single-handedly by a vocal and energetic physician. Yet at the same time, several instances are recorded in which Rett appeared to prioritize his own professional advancement at the expense of truthful disclosure of his own past, as well as that of some of his close associates. Dr Rett's professional life and contributions, now 10 years after his death, presents a compelling object lesson for neurologists and others involved in the care of the disabled.

publication date

  • January 2009

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