Joseph Skoda 1805-81: a centenary tribute to a pioneer of thoracic medicine.
Joseph Skoda was born on 5 December 1805 in Pilsen, Bohemia, and studied medicine in Vienna, where he became professor of medicine in 1846. His clinical researches into cardiopulmonary disease at the Allgemeine Krankenhaus were complementary to the pathological anatomical studies carried out there by Karl von Rokitansky. Skoda had been stimulated by the pioneer work on percussin and auscultation of the Paris school of medicine, but his own researches simplified the classification of physical signs taught by the French masters, Laënnec and Piorry. Skoda's findings were collected in his magnum opus, Abhandlung über Perkussion und Auskultation (1839), in which he described his famous eponymous physical sign, "Skodaic resonance." Skoda was sceptical of the medical treatment then available and was labelled a "therapeutic nihilist." Together with Rokitansky, he helped to make Vienna, for a time, the focal point of medical teaching in Europe. He died on 13 June 1881.