Miguel Servet stamp

This 2011 stamp from Spain honors the 500th anniversary of the birth of Miguel Servet and schematically depicts the systemic and pulmonary circulatory systems. Servet is also known as Michael Servetus and Michel de Villeneuve. He was born in 1511 in Villaneuve de Sijena, Spain, and was a famous Spanish theologian, physician, cartographer, and humanist. He was educated in Paris and Montpellier, receiving his MD in 1539. He is considered the first European to describe the function of the pulmonary circulation.

Servet
2011 Spanish stamp honoring the 500th anniversary of the birth of Miguel Servet, first European to describe the function of the pulmonary circulation. Image courtesy of Stanford T. Shulman, MD. 

 

In the 13th Century, an Arab physician, Ibn al-Nafis, had correctly described the pulmonary circulation, but it appears that Servetus independently made his discovery that in the lungs the blood meets air, changes from dark red to bright red, returns to the left ventricle and then to the body. Servetus buried his discovery within a theologic treatise he wrote in 1553, but he unwisely sent a copy to John Calvin, leader of the Protestant Reformation, located in Geneva.

Calvin denounced Servetus as a heretic and arranged for him (and his books) to be burned at the stake in 1553. Servetus is widely honored in Spain, as evidenced by this stamp and by the many streets, squares, parks, and at least one hospital named for him. (reblogged from pediatric annals (link)  )

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This entry was posted in Cardiovascular, Miscellanea.