Medical conditions of Omer Seyfettin (1884–1920), the father of Turkish short stories, enshrined as a mystery

TEKİNER H., Yale S. H., Yale E. S., DOĞANAY M.

Journal of Medical Biography, vol.30, no.2, pp.125-131, 2022 (AHCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 30 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0967772020958966
  • Journal Name: Journal of Medical Biography
  • Journal Indexes: Arts and Humanities Citation Index (AHCI), Scopus, American History and Life, EMBASE, Historical Abstracts, MEDLINE
  • Page Numbers: pp.125-131
  • Keywords: Diabetes, famous patients, history of medicine, sepsis, Turkey, Turkish literature
  • Kayseri University Affiliated: No


© The Author(s) 2020.Born in 1884 in Balıkesir, Turkey, Ömer Seyfettin was a leading figure among modern Turkish short story writers whose death in 1920 at the age of 36 led to long-term speculations about his fatal illness. In order to pay homage to his memory in the centennial of his death and to shed light on his later medical condition, this paper seeks to reexamine his last days from a medico-historical perspective. Our findings indicate that there was a notable decline in his health occurring after 1917 when he was confined to social isolation. A carbuncle was diagnosed in his posterior neck when he was 35-years of age and not satisfactorily treated. In late February 1920, he developed progressive symptoms over two weeks consisting initially of a headache, followed by fever, delirium, hallucinations, and diplopia. These clinical signs and symptoms are clinically suggestive of a septic encephalopathy presumably caused by staphylococcus aureus infection secondary to the carbuncle, or perhaps by one of the myriad causes of viral meningoencephalitis.