Jacob Mendes Da Costa

Jacob Mendez Da Costa (1833 – 1900) was an American physician.

Global eclectic traveler, fluent in German and French and able to read Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Dutch.

Eponymously affiliated with Da Costa Syndrome (1871)


  • Born February 7, 1833 St. Thomas, West Indies (Danish colony)
  • 1837 – traveled with family for education in Europe (Dresden gymnasium)
  • 1845-1852 – Studied medicine at Jefferson Medical College, USA
  • 1852 – Returned to Europe working in Paris with Armand Trousseau (1801-1867), then on to work in Prague and Vienna
  • 1853-1861 – Physician to the dispensary of Moyamensing House of Industry, but struggled in private practice and preferred to teach medical students. Exyensive teaching resulted in his very popular textbook ‘Medical Diagnosis‘ in 1864 (running to nine editions).
  • 1861-1865 Acting Assistant Surgeon, Military Hospital in Philadelphia
  • 1865 – Visiting Physician to the Pennsylvania Hospital
  • 1866 – Chairman of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College
  • 1872 – Professor of the Theory and Practice of Medicine, Jefferson Medical College
  • Died September 12, 1900

A teachers work does not die with him. It lives long after and may give great results.

Valedictory address, 1874.

Medical Eponyms

Da Costa Syndrome (1871)

Symptom-complex characterized by palpitation, dyspnea, precordial pain, fatigue, exaggerated emotional responses with increased cardiac awareness, and occasionally, systolic hypertension

Leuchonychia striata (1877)

Da Costa described transverse white bands the full width of the finger nail appearing after a relapse of typhoid fever. Coloured illustration of a hand the nails of which are traversed with several white bands, each corresponding to a relapse of the typhoid from which the patient had suffered. Systemic illness variant of Mees lines

Major Publications



the person behind the name

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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