One of the greatest tributes a physician can receive is to have a medical condition named after him. For example, I had the pleasure to know Dr. Mike Leventhal and remember how all the residents in training with me treated him with the greatest reverence because he was the Leventhal of Stein-Leventhal syndrome, now called polycystic ovary syndrome. Everyone respects the men associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Down’s syndrome, Hodgkin’s disease and Dupuytren’s contracture. It is such a great honor that it should not be granted to any person who lies when he takes the Hippocratic oath in which he swears that he will not practice medicine in a way that will harm his fellow man.
In The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, Drs. Dan Wallace and Mike Weisman of the University of California, Los Angeles, report that Reiter’s syndrome was named after one of the most heinous, hateful and despicable physicians who ever lived. Not only did he perform horrendous experiments on humans, he also didn’t even name the disease correctly and his report was not the first on that condition. All that this loathsome and disgusting physician did was report that in 1916, a German military officer had a sexual affair that was followed by terrible burning on urination, high fever, terrible pains in his joints and burning in his eyes. We now know that this condition can be cured by taking doxycycline or other antibioitcs for many months or even years. But odious, vile Dr. Reiter thought it was caused by a spirochete, similar to the one that causes syphilis. This theory was abandoned because no patients improved with the treatment for syphilis.
Despicable and venomous Dr. Hans Conrad Julius Reiter was one of the first physicians to swear an oath of allegiance to Adolph Hitler in 1932 and was one of the most prominent members of a the eugenics movement that advocated killing all people who had any physical or mental disability whatever. In 1937, as a result of his disgusting beliefs, he was appointed president of the Reich Health Office. He declared that it is medicine’s responsibility to stop further transmission of inferior genes. Disgusting Dr. Reiter sanctioned medical experiments that killed thousands of unfortunate human beings at Buchenwald Concentration camp. He gave the orders to perform and he supervised many medical atrocities. One documented experiment was to infect 250 prisoners at Buchenwald with rickettsia and then kill them.
The Spondylitis Society that represents patients who have arthritis, recently voted to call Reiter’s syndrome, reactive arthritis. Hopefully, the rest of the medical profession will call burning on urination, pain in the eyes and arthritis reactive arthritis and stop paying homage to the immoral killer, Dr. Hans Reiter, who lied when he took the Hippocratic Oath. After all a physician pledges that first, he will do no harm. The syndrome is called reactive arthritis. No self-respecting physician should ever use the name Reiter’s syndrome again.
DJ Wallace, M Weisman. Should a war criminal be rewarded with eponymous distinction? The double life of Hans Reiter (1881-1969). Jcr – Journal of Clinical Rheumatology, 2000, Vol 6, Iss 1, pp 49-54 Address: Wallace DJ, 8737 Beverly Blvd, Suite 203, Los Angeles, CA