[The treatment of "Rybenka": therapies and medical operations on Michał Kazimierz Radziwiłł, 1702-1762]

Med Nowozytna. 2001;8(1):89-110.
[Article in Polish]


The present paper discusses and analyses treatment methods and medical care given to the Voivod of Vilnius, the Grand Hetman of Lithuania M. K. Radziwiłł throughout all his life. This analysis is not representative for the general medicine of the 18th century. M. K. Radziwiłł was one of Poland's richest men of the time and only few aristocrats rich like him could afford similar therapies. The paper is based on unpublished archival sources, such as diaries and correspondence. Radziwiłł was subject to 65 breedings (blood was taken from his leg) which were usually performed in springtime; 30 leech applications (to his haemorrhoids); and he was cupped 13 times. He ws also treated for his bad jaw, broken arm, and received hydrotherapy (drinking water). All in all, the therapies, operations, and medicines preformed and prescribed to him make up a picture of medicine which, according to today's scientific criteria, did more harm than good to the patient. Nonetheless, this does not change the fact that medical care of the time also included treatments which are well evaluated by present-day medical science, such as, for example, recommending comfort and rest to the patients.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Family Characteristics*
  • History, 18th Century
  • Patients / history*
  • Poland
  • Therapeutics / history*

Personal name as subject

  • M K Radziwill