Dr. Dov Weissberg: Treatment of Lung Abscess

Thoracic Surgery (Cirugia de Torax. org) welcomes Dr. Dov Weissberg, noted thoracic surgeon and memoirist as our first guest commentary. Here, Dr. Weissberg comments on one of his previously published articles from 2010 on the history of lung abscess.

We at Thoracic Surgery are delighted to present Dr. Dov Weissberg, a renown thoracic surgeon with a distinguished career as a surgeon, a scholar and professor of surgery with an extensive resume and list of contributions to the field of Thoracic Surgery as our first guest commentator.  Dr. Weissberg has published an exhaustive list of articles, and papers in addition to several books, including his memoirs which include his boyhood accounts of life in Poland as a hidden jew during the Holocaust, personal experiences of starvation, and his experiences as a surgeon.

He is an expert in his field, with contributions to the development of pleuroscopy and the body of knowledge surrounding a wide range of thoracic surgery topics including mediastinoscopy, thymomas, lung abscess, empyemas, traumatic thoracic injuries, tracheal disease and tracheal surgery, pleural effusions, lung cancer and lung resection.

Dr. Dov Weissberg: Treatment of Lung Abscess – commentary based on Editorial published in 2010 entitled, “The Treatment of Lung Abscess from Hippocrates to Present.

The treatment of lung abscesses has come full circle since it was first described by Hippocrates. The treatment at that time was surgical drainage (of the accumulated pus and dead tissue matter). A small tube was placed in the chest, and the accumulated pus drained out. This remained the standard of treatment until the 195o’s when the widespread use of antibiotics became popular, replacing surgery with medications. Antibiotics remained the primary treatment for this condition through the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Surgical intervention was relegated as a treatment of last resort, after multiple medication failures. In those cases, patients were usually referred for lobectomies or lung resections. On our service, (in 1980) our experiences with several patients referred for medical treatment failure showed surgical drainage to be an effective treatment and preferable over both long-term antibiotics and lung resection, thus coming back to Hippocrates.  We presented these findings at several conferences, and meetings.  Now in 2011; surgical drainage is once again, the treatment of choice for lung abscess.

Note: Lung resection should be reserved only for cases of extensive tissue destruction (pulmonary gangrene).

Biography of Dr. Dov Weissberg

In this particular case, with a gifted memoirist such as Dr. Weissberg, it is not possible to tell his story as well as he does.


1. The Limits of Starvation – a personal experience : Dr. Weissberg recalls his wartime experiences as a 13 year boy.

2. The Handbook of Practical Pleuroscopy (1991)

3. I Remember – memoir
4. The Holocaust – one boy’s story
5. I have chosen surgery: A surgeon’s memoir

Author: K Eckland

World of Thoracic Surgery is a blog about the work, research, and practices of thoracic surgeons around the world. It includes case studies, [sometimes] dry research, interviews with thoracic surgeons along with patient perspectives, and feedback.

One thought on “Dr. Dov Weissberg: Treatment of Lung Abscess”

  1. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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