University Psychiatry in Magdeburg

 The Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy was founded at the same time as the Clinic for Neurology in February 1994, after which the former psychiatric clinic of the Medical Academy was transformed into two independent clinics by appointing the chair holders for Neurology and for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. In 1996, the clinic was expanded to include the field of psychosomatic medicine.

The Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine performs a regional care mandate for Magdeburg. Within the framework of community-based care, it works closely with the corresponding complementary services including the social-psychiatric service.

History of Neuroscience in Magdeburg until 1994

Neurology, which included clinical neurology and psychiatry, has a tradition of more than 100 years in Magdeburg. In 1891 a "lunatic ward" was founded as the first clinical facility of the then newly built Sudenburg hospitals. As a forerunner of this department, there was already an area for the mentally disturbed in the municipal hospital before 1891. With Pavilion I (today's House 1 of the University Hospital), the "Irrenpavillon", the Sudenburg hospital complex built at that time, a building comfortable for the time was constructed at a cost of 523,000 Reichsmark. In addition to the "Tobzellen" for aggressively excited patients, which were common at that time, it had two day rooms and dining rooms, four surveillance rooms with 15 beds each and two patient rooms with four beds each (see Figure 1). On the first floor there were apartments and service rooms for the medical and nursing staff.

Regarding the choice of location, the chronicle noted: "...When searching for a suitable building site, it was soon agreed that a place in Leipziger Strasse would be available. Here in the southern part of the city, where the two powerful suburbs of Buckau and Sudenburg, which due to their factory population provide an important source of medical supplies, diverge in a fork shape, an area was found not too far from the centre of the city which was ideally suited for the construction of a hospital. Situated on the highest part of the Magdeburg area, with a healthy subsoil, at a great distance from smoking factory chimneys, it offered almost all the requirements for the establishment of a large hospital facility. Its distance from the centre of the city is more than 3 kilometres, but after the extension of the horse-drawn tram, which connects the centre of the city with the hospital, the difficulties arising from this should also be eliminated as far as possible. Unfortunately, it is an inevitable drawback of all large cities that fresh, smoke and dust-free air can only be found at a greater distance from the centre...".

Soon after the "madman's pavilion" was put into operation, it was decreed that the attractive building should be made available for internally ill patients. The following decree was issued:

„... However, the law of July 11, 1891, changed the situation so that the city would only temporarily admit the mentally ill for observation and then send them to the provincial hospitals for permanent care. Whereas in the past only the acutely mentally ill and the dangerous in the community were handed over to the province, now all the mentally ill whose condition makes family care appear unfeasible are being transferred. As a result of this change in the situation, only a small observation station is required in the hospital, so that the number of mentally ill persons has hardly risen above 20 since the implementation of these provisions. The large, spacious building therefore had to be made usable for other purposes..."
Subsequently, 65 beds were made available in the building, which was mainly used for internal medicine, for patients with nervous disorders until 1929.

In 1929, the psychiatric clinic was founded as an independent institution of the Sudenburg hospital, and Professor Pette was appointed as the first director, whose main interest in psychiatry was in the neurological field; isolation facilities were created in the clinic for acutely ill patients, and chronically mentally ill patients were transferred to the neighbouring sanatoriums and nursing homes. From 1931 to 1934 Professor Jacobi was director of the clinic. At this time, the first carotid angiography was performed. Professor Fünfgeld (1935-1939) and Professor Ruffin (1939-1945) followed as further directors. The isolation cells and permanent baths that were still common in the first half of the last century were abolished by Prof. Fünfgeld in the 1930s. In 1944, a large part of the psychiatric clinic was destroyed by an air mine; the reconstruction was carried out under the then head of the clinic, Professor Steinkopff, who was director until 1954. In 1952, Steinkopff founded the Department of Child Psychiatry; in 1955, electroencephalography was introduced into the clinic.

With the foundation of the Medical Academy of Magdeburg in 1954, teaching duties were added to the clinic's clinical routine tasks. In 1955, Professor Keyserlingk was appointed to the newly created Chair of Neurology and Psychiatry, under which the transition from the Municipal Mental Hospital to an academic institution took place. The further academic development was influenced by Professor Parnitzke from 1958. After his retirement, Prof. Kühne was appointed as director of the clinic in 1975. During this time, the neurological clinic was restructured by creating a Department of Neurology in 1976, which was headed by Professor Koch, a Department of Psychiatry, which was under Professor Kühne. In addition, there was a Department of Psychiatry and Neurology of Childhood and Adolescence headed by Professor Klepel and a Department of Clinical Psychology under Professor Regel. In 1980, the clinic was supplemented by a department for the then emerging computer tomography. In 1983, Prof. Koch became director of the neurological clinic. After the political change in 1992, the neurological department of the clinic was headed by Prof. Haas for a period of two years, the psychiatric department by Dr. Knorr.

Literature on the history of the clinic:

PARNITZKE, K.-H.: Lines of development in neurology and psychiatry, illustrated using the example of the Magdeburg Nerve Clinic. In: The German Health Care System - Organ of the German Society for Clinical Medicine 19: (1964) 1850-1856

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