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As a co-founder of the First Viennese Medical School, van Swieten laid an important milestone in modern medicine. In addition to this pioneering work, he was Maria Theresa's personal physician and the main driver of a fundamental reorganization of the Austrian health care system.
Without question, today's medicine is miles above that of van Swieten's time. But one of the roots of modern medicine lies in the First Viennese Medical School co-founded by Gerard van Swieten and its outstanding representatives. They made Vienna the medical center of Europe for a long time. Just as absolutist as his monarch Maria Theresa, whose personal physician van Swieten was, he reorganized Austrian health care and medical education "away from the book, towards the bed" in the middle of the 18th century.
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