Tag Archives: French Revolution

A tale of three doctors

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Early print of an execution by guillotine, as proposed by Dr. Guillotin. Jean-François Janinet, c. 1789–1791. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris via Wikimedia. Public domain. “How true it is that it is difficult to benefit mankind without some unpleasantness resulting for oneself.” – Dr. Edme-Claude Bourru, giving Dr. Guillotin’s eulogy […]

Dr. Dominique Larrey

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Larrey provokes contractions on a recently amputated limb. Illustration from Les merveilles de la science, 1867-1891, Tome 1, by Louis Figuier. Paris: Furne, Jouvet. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Dominique Jean Larrey (1766-1842), the orphaned son of a shoemaker, was raised by an uncle who was a surgeon and became a […]

Jean-Paul Marat, physician and revolutionary

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1: Death of Marat. Jacques-Louis David. 1793. Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium. Via Wikimedia. The murder of the notorious Jean-Paul Marat in his bath in July 1793 by Charlotte Corday is a tale where revolution, art, and medicine each played a part. When the commoners stormed the […]

Another look at the medical problems of Jean-Paul Marat: searching for a unitary diagnosis

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   L’Assassinat de Marat / Charlotte Corday. Paul-Jacques-Aimé Baudry. 1860. Musée d’Arts de Nantes. Via Wikimedia. Jean-Paul Marat (1743-1793) was a practicing physician, scientist, and a leader of the French Revolution. He also suffered from a chronic, intractable skin condition, which troubled the last five years of his life. A tormenting […]

Jean Corvisart: Napoleon’s physician

Jean Corvisart François-Pascal-Simon Gérard, 1806 Oil on fabric Château de Versailles, France An outstanding diagnostician and pioneer in cardiology, Jean Nicolas Corvisart de Marets has been called the founder of French clinical medicine. He advocated the careful clinical examination of the heart, described syndromes and signs of heart disease that to this day still bear […]