Frederick III: Germany's Liberal Emperor

By Patricia Kollander | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Chapter 7
The Illness, Reign, and Legend of Frederick III

Since the crown prince had always been prone to throat maladies, 1 he and his wife were not particularly concerned when he developed hoarseness as result of a cold in late 1886. This time, however, the hoarseness did not abate. In March 1887, Dr. Gerhardt, a throat specialist from the University of Berlin, examined the crown prince and discovered a small growth on the left vocal cord. 2 Dr. Gerhardt suspected that the growth was cancerous and asked Dr. Ernst von Bergmann, a prominent surgeon and the director of the medical school in Berlin, to confirm his diagnosis. Bergmann concurred with Gerhardt and advised an immediate operation on the larynx to prevent the spread of the disease and to save Frederick's life. After consulting with the crown prince and his wife, the doctors scheduled the surgery for 21 May.

Bismarck, however, believed that the doctors were acting too hastily and that the royal couple was not adequately informed about the risks involved in the surgical procedure. 3 Risks there were: if the doctors chose to perform a laryngectomy, the chances of surviving such surgery were slim, and postoperative patients had a life expectancy of only a few months to a little over one year. 4 Bismarck also requested that Frederick's case be reviewed by other experts. Other prominent throat specialists confirmed Bergmann's diagnosis and recommended surgery, but Bismarck was still not satisfied. He now insisted that the best non- German expert be called in for consultation, and the German doctors selected Dr. Morell Mackenzie, a noted British larnygologist.

To the surprise of the German doctors, Mackenzie believed that the growth was not cancer but a "wart or a papilloma" and insisted that the crown prince could be cured if he came to England for treatment. To substantiate his diagnosis, Mackenzie ordered Dr. Rudolf Virchow, known as the world's greatest authority on cells, to examine particles of Frederick's larynx microscopically. Virchow was able to find nothing to confirm a diagnosis of cancer. 5 With a tremendous sense of relief, the royal couple departed for England, with the doubting Bergmann and Gerhardt in tow. 6


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Frederick III: Germany's Liberal Emperor


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 215

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?