Hans Peter Lie (1862-1945)

Lie started his career at Lungegård Hospital and later became a physician and the superintendent of Pleiestiftelsen Hospital, where he spent 40 years. When Hansen died in 1912, he also became Chief Medical Officer for Leprosy and assumed Hansen’s position as the leading figure in Norwegian leprosy research.

Painted portrait Dr. Lie. Cropped photo: Odd R. Schibsted Monge. Painting belongs to Det medicinske selskap i Bergen.
Oil painting of Hans Peter Lie by the portraitist Hans Ødegaard, 1932.
Collection of Det Medicinske Selskap in Bergen.
Photo: Odd R. Schibsted Monge.

H. P. Lie was born in 1862 in Hareid and received his medical degree in 1891. He practised in Bergen from 1893, specialising in skin diseases from 1898 onwards. In May 1893, he was employed as an assistant physician at Lungegård Hospital and physician at St. Jørgen’s Hospital, and he also became a professor at Bergen Hospital.  After Danielssen’s death in 1894, he was appointed senior consultant at Lungegård and St. Jørgen’s. 

When Lungegård Hospital closed in 1895, Lie was employed as a physician and superintendent at Pleiestiftelsen Hospital. It is evident from his first annual report from Pleiestiftelsen that the hospital’s character changed with the closure of Lungegård Hospital and the transfer of patients from there. It had previously been a care institution and all scientific investigations and curative endeavours were linked to Lungegård Hospital, but it now became a combined care and curative facility. During 1895, the Lungegård Hospital laboratory and library were moved to Pleiestiftelsen.

Lie’s scientific output was wide-ranging, but his work on leprosy was the most significant. He co-authored the 1899 book ‘Lepra des Auges’ with the ophthalmologist Lyder Borthen from Trondheim. In his 1905 doctoral thesis on leprosy in the spinal cord and peripheral nervous system, he concluded that leprosy does not attack the central nervous system. Over the years, he made a number of trips abroad, partly to study leprosy and partly to carry out special official assignments to investigate pertinent medical issues. 

When Armauer Hansen died in 1912, Lie became Chief Medical Officer for Leprosy. Lie assumed the role as Bergen and Norway’s leading figure in leprosy research and became one of the foremost authorities on the disease in his time. He had a nuanced view of the reasons for the disease’s decline in Norway, and attached importance not only to legislation and building institutions, but also better living standards and hygiene. 

He had been secretary general of the Second International Conference on Leprosy in Bergen in 1909 and was also vice president of the Third International Leprosy Conference in Strasbourg in 1921. In 1932, he was in London and contributed to drafting the statutes of the International Leprosy Association.

In Norway, he contributed to the journal Medicinsk Revue and was also active in the Medical Society of Bergen, Bergen Museum and the Bergen Society for the Advancement of Science. Lie was also greatly interested in the history of leprosy research and the prevalence of the disease in Norway.

In 1935, he resigned his post as senior consultant at Pleiestiftelsen Hospital and as Chief Medical Officer for Leprosy, but he kept his position as physician at St. Jørgen’s Hospital until 1940, at which point he moved to Hardanger.

Dr. Hansen and Dr. Lie. Photo: Olaf Andreas Svanøe © University Museum of Bergen. CC BY-SA 4.0
Doctors H. P. Lie og G. Armauer Hansen.
Photo: Olaf Andreas Svanøe © University Museum of Bergen.
Dr. Lie in Riga. Photo: Bergen City Archives.
Lie visiting Riga Leprosarium,1911.
Photo: Bergen City Archives

H. P. Lie at the old laboratory. Photo: Leprosy Museum St. Jørgen's Hospital.
H. P. Lie at his laboratory at Pleiestiftelsen hospital.

Photo given to Dr. H. Pl. Lie with written note: "Dr. Lie. Father of Lepers in the world, from Leprosy conference in Japan. Nov 11. 1932". Photo: Bergen City Museum.
Photo given to Dr. H. Pl. Lie with written note:
Dr. Lie
Father of Lepers in the world
from Leprosy conference in Japan
Nov. 11 1932
Photo: Bergen City Museum

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