Physician, calligrapher, poet and scholar of astronomy (B. ?- D. 1760, Istanbul).He is also known as Kambur Vesim Efendi or Derviş Abbas Tabip. His views on tuberculosis and definition of germs were above the understanding of his age. Abbas Vesim Efendi was known as “Kambur” by the public. It is assumed that he is the son of the physician from Bursa, Ömer Şifaî and learnt the science of medicine and Persian language from his father. Besides he benefited from the physician Ali Efendi from Bursa and Kâtipzade Mehmet Refi Efendi, a Kazasker (T.N. a high rank of science and public service in Ottoman Empire) and Reisül-etibba (T.N. chief of physicians). He took courses of astronomy from Ahmet-I Mısrî, physics from Yanyalı Esat Efendi. On the other hand, he established relations with Western physicians who were living in Galata, learnt Latin and French and even let some Italian medical texts translate into Turkish and acquired knowledge about the developments in Europe.
Abbas Vesim Efendi took lessons of wisdom and Persian from Yanyalı Esat Efendi, astronomy and astrology from Ahmed Mısrî, medicine and talik script (T.N. italic style of Arabic writing) from Kâtibzade Mehmed Refi Efendi. He went to Hejaz, Damascus and Egypt for a period for educational purposes. He produced numerous scientific researches and improved his knowledge in the field of medicine. On his return to Istanbul he opened a pharmacy and a clinic near to Sultan Selim Mosque. He worked for forty years as a physician in Istanbul, served people and improved his knowledge on medicine. In the same time he entered the Sufi path and was initiated in Halwati and Kadiri orders. His last spiritual guide was Muhammed Emin Tokadi, one of the greatest guides of Naqshibandiyyah. He learnt Sufi practices from Mehmed EminTokadî and applied them. Abbâs Vesim Efendi knew Arabic, Persian, Ancient Greek and Latin languages well enough to be able to write articles in them.
He had a great contribution to the Ottoman medicine. He has researches and examinations about tuberculosis based on his personal experiences and which were regarded as discoveries. He defended the idea that one had to know physics, mechanics and experimental chemistry in order to understand medicine well. He wrote a book titled “Tıbb- i Cedid-i Kimyevi” on this issue. Besides he contributed to the development and application method of deontology (history of medicine and ethics of medicine). Using the knowledge he acquired from ancient physicians such as Avicenna, from his own teachers and from some Western physicians who came to Istanbul he wrote “Düstur-ül- Vesim fi Tıbb-il-Cedid vel-Kadim”.
This work, which compared Eastern and Western medicine and was a perfect corpus is important in terms of our history of medicine. It consisted of two volumes. The first chapter explained organ diseases from the beginning to the end, the second woman and children diseases, the third lumps and ulcer and the fourth simple and complex medicaments. This work dated 1748 has three samples; one of them in Beyazıt Library and the other two in Ragıp Pasha Library.
He discovered the tuberculosis bacillus, which is named after him. However, the theory put forward by Henlen, teacher of Robert Koch who received the Nobel Prize of Medicine in 1905 is claimed to be put forward by Girolamo Fracastoro (born in 1478, i.e. nineteen years after the Turkish scholar Akşemseddin) for the first time. They claim that Fracastoro was the first scientist to make a scientific declaration on this issue. They don’t mention Vesim Abbas bin Abdurrahman bin Abdullah who was known as “Kambur Vesim” who wrote about it “A germ causes tuberculosis which installs itself to lungs”, hundred and fifty years before Akşemseddin’s writings on this issue and Robert Koch. Nevertheless, he already declared certain treatment methods of intestinal disease, as well. He also analyzed factors of amoeba and bacillus at that time and declared that tuberculosis is caused by a germ which installs itself to lungs.
Dr. Osman Şevki says in his work titled “Beşbuçuk Asırlık Türk Tababeti” that medicine even by the beginning of 20th century could not add much to the knowledge provided by Kambur Vesim about tuberculosis. The same interpretation can be found in the work of Mehmet Tahir, “Osmanlı Müellifleri”. Chief Physician of Şişli Etfal Hospital, İbrahim Pasha wrote in an article in 4040th issue of “İkdam” newspaper “Vesim Abbas discovered germs of disease 300 years before Europeans, his views on the treatment of tuberculosis and syphilis were very accurate, which was acknowledged first in the beginning of 20th century”.
Another work of Abbas Vesim Efendi outside of the medical field is an interpretation of “Uluğ Bey Zici” in Turkish language, titled “Nehc- ül- Büluğ fi Şerh-i Zic-i Uluğ”. This work which was written in plain Turkish rearranged samples of all applications organized due to latitudes and longitudes of Istanbul. He analyzed the ancient Turkish calendar and added Hebrew and Greek calendars which were not within the text. He explained the method belonging to Gıyasüddin Cemşidand defined by Uluğ Bey about finding the sinus of a degree in a very eloquent way. Manuscripts of this work are in Beyazıt Library and Kandilli Observatory Library. Besides, he is author of a work titled “Risale-I Rüyet-i Hilal” on astronomy, a corpus of poetry titled “Divan”, another work titled “Risalet-ül-Vefk” and a pharmacology translation titled “Vesilet-ül-Metalib fi İlm-it-Terakib” he translated from Georgios the Hungarian. His grave is in the cemetery outside of Edirnekapı.
SCIENCE: Düstûr el-Vesim, Tıbb-I Cedîd-I Kimyevî, Düstûr-ül-Vesîm fî Tıbb-il-Cedid vel-Kadîm, Vesîlet-ül-Metâlib fî ilm-it-Terâkib, Nehc-ül-Bülûg fî şerhi Zîc-i Uluğ, Nehc-ül-Bülûğ.
LITERATURE: Divân, Risâlet-ül-vefk.
REFERENCE: Bursalı Mehmet Tahir / Osmanlı Müellifleri (1972, c.3, s. 242), Müstekimzâde Süleymân Sa’deddîn Efendi / Tuhfe-i Hattâtîn (s. 668, İstanbul 1928), İbrâhim Paşa / İslâmların ve Bilhassa Türk Millet-i Necîbesinin Tababete Ettikleri Hizmetler (İkdam Gazetesi No: 2601, 1901), Osman Şevki / Beşbuçuk Asırlık Türk Tabâbeti Târihi (yay. haz. İlter Uzel, 1991, s. 169), Sırrı Akıncı / Kitâbu Düstûru Vesim fit-tıbb-il-Cedîd vel-kadîm İncelemesi ve ortaya çıkan sonuçlar (İ.Ü. Tıp Fakültesi Tıp Târihi Enstitüsü, Uzmanlık Tezi, 1964), İhsan Işık / Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).