Remembering Past Greats: Lorenzo Sazie

Author Information

Prasad M*, Venkatesh S**.
(* Assistant Professor, ** Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Vydehi Institute of Medical Sciences and Research Centre, Whitefield, Bengaluru, India.)

Lorenzo Sazie was born in Asson, France on 16 July 1807.  Though his parents wished that he take up a clergy-related career, he had an excellent academic inclination. He first earned a Bachelor in humanities. His achievements were unstoppable and he went on to complete his medical degree in November 1833, at an age much lesser than his peers. It is notable that great medical pioneers were his teachers. These included Laennec, Velpeau, Dubois and Dupuytren. Destiny brought him to the South American country of Chile where he began practice as professor of obstetrics. It is to be noted that he may have been one of the first to use a stethoscope and use surgical instruments like forceps in the country. He is also credited to have been the first doctor to give general anesthesia for surgery.[1] Just like the multiple instances in history, Sazie was also met with resistance and viewed with suspicion when he brought a large armamentarium of medical equipment along with him. However, he learnt the local language quickly and gained the confidence of his patients and his peers.
He founded the Midwifery school for obstetricians in 1834, thereby establishing the first course of obstetrics in the country. The autonomy he envisaged to this school was quite forward for those times.[2] He was an inspiring personality and brought many people to cooperate with him by his influential speeches and write-ups. The speech he gave to future midwives during the inauguration of the course is particularly well documented.[3]

He was a French citizen all along, and the government conferred on him Chilean nationality honoring the yeoman contribution given to the advancement of medicine and surgery, and specifically to obstetrics. Such was his contribution that he was also ordered the knighthood and legion of honor from the French government.

The national medical system of the country, and development of a medical care in the relatively backward country was pioneered by Sazie and Andres Bello. They also put together a standardization of foreign medical degrees to suit local needs and also publicized the status of the country’s medical status to the world. Dr Sazie and his peer, Dr Blest were instrumental in shaping the medical school in Chile. A number of future stalwarts were mentored by these two.[4] He was the first dean of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile between 1843 and 1851, his second term as Dean was exercised between 1855 and 1863. There were many improvements which occurred in the medical, political and cultural atmosphere in Chile during his second period as the Dean of Faculty of medicine. It was during this period that he passed away from typhoid fever which he acquired while tending to patients during the epidemics in Santiago which struck in 1865.[5]

The University of Atacama holds an award for the highest distinction for midwives bearing the name “Lorenzo Sazie Award” to appreciate outstanding contribution to the profession.
The only son of Lorenzo with Rosario Heredia was Carlos Sazié Heredia who went onto become a prominent psychiatrist/neurologist.[6]

This 3rd week of July we celebrate the birthday of a stalwart in Obstetrics and Gynecology, whose career and achievements will continue to inspire many generations of students; past, present and future.

  1. Lorenzo Sazie. Available from:
  2. Lorenzo sazie. Available from:
  3. Costa C. [The speech of Dr. Lorenzo Sazie at the inauguration of the course in obstetrics (1835)]. [Article in Spanish] Rev Med Chil. 1984;112(3):297-300.         
  4. Pérez-Olea J. [The school of Blest and Sazie]. [Article in Spanish] Rev Med Chil. 1993;121(11):1332-9.
  5. Pérez-Olea J. [Lorenzo Sazie. His 2nd and 3rd deanships]. [Article in Spanish] Rev Med Chil. 1992;120(4):457-63.
  6. Doctor Lorenzo Sazie. Availeble from:

Prasad M, Venkatesh S. Remembering Past Greats: Lorenzo Sazie. JPGO 2019. Volume 6 No.7. Available from: