Paolo Zacchia: Father of Forensic Medicine

Paolo Zacchia (1584-1659), a Jesuit-educated Rome native who served as the popes Innocent X and Alexander VII’s personal physician, was also the Rota Romana’s medical counsel and oversaw the health care system in the Papal States. He was a founding figure in forensic medicine. Quaestiones medico-legales, one of his works, is highly recognised worldwide.

His most significant work, “Quaestiones Medico-Legales,” was written in Latin and published between 1621 and 1651 in 9 volumes. Up until the late 18th century, thorough reproductions of Zacchia’s work were still produced in a number of locations. Zacchia addressed all relevant medicolegal concerns of the day, such as the “malpractice” issue and medical ethics.

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