IT WAS A TIME WHEN MEDICAL THOUGHT AND PRACTICE WERE BEING TRANSFORMED. IT WAS A TIME OF GREAT CHANGES.
IN THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND HISTORIC FIND WE HAVE TWENTY-ONE, HAND-SIGNED, 19TH CENTURY, SCIENTIST AND PHYSICIANS, WHO WERE INVOLVED WHEN MODERN MEDICINE BEGAN, INCLUDING RENE LAENNEC THE “FATHER OF THORACIC MEDICINE” AND INVENTOR OF THE STETHOSCOPE; MATHIEU ORFILA THE FOUNDER OF THE SCIENCE OF TOXICOLOGY; PIERRE BECLARD CREDITED WITH CREATING NEW AMPUTATIVE AND SURGICAL PRACTICES; PHILIPPE-JEAN PELLETAN CONSULTANT-SURGEON TO NAPOLEON BONAPARTE; ANTOINE-ATHANASE ROYER-COLLARD PSYCHIATRIST TO THE MARQUIS DE SADE; JOSEPH RECAMIER WHO POPULARIZED THE USE OF VARIOUS INSTRUMENTS IN GYNECOLOGICAL MEDICINE; AND 15 MORE ALL HAND-SIGNED.
RENE THEOPHILE HYACINTHE LAENNEC (1781-1826) the French physician who is considered the “Father of Thoracic Medicine”, and who invented the stethoscope in 1816 and pioneered its use for diagnosing chest problems: he investigated the sounds made by the heart and lungs and determined that his diagnoses were supported by the observations made during autopsies. He was therefore able to correlate sounds captured by his new instruments with specific pathological changes in the chest, in effect pioneering a new non-invasive diagnostic tool.
MATHIEU ORFILA (1787-1853) the Spanish toxicologist and chemist, who was the founder of the science of toxicology and created new forensic toxicology techniques and refined existing techniques in his treatise, Traite des poisons.
ANTOINE-ATHANASE ROYER-COLLARD (1768-1825) the French physician, professor of forensic medicine, and interestingly the psychiatrist who was the chief physician at the Charenton mental asylum, where one of his famous patients was the Marquis de Sade, the French nobleman and writer who spent much of his life imprisoned on various charges, including rape and obscenity and who spent the last eleven years of his life incarcerated at the asylum.
ANDRE MARIE CONSTANT DUMERIL (1774-1860) the French zoologist, professor of herpetology and ichthyology, and author of several important references, including his 9 volume series on reptiles and several memoirs on insects (entomology). He also created the first vivarium for reptiles because he considered observations on animal behavior of taxonomic significance. Many species have been named after A. M. C. Dumeril.
PIERRE AUGUSTIN BECLARD (1785-1825) the French anatomist and surgeon, who is credited with introducing new amputative and surgical practices. The eponymous “Beclard’s nucleus” is used in forensic medicine to determine the age of a fetus or newborn infant.
JOSEPH RECAMIER (1774-1852) the French gynecologist credited with the popularization of several instruments in gynecological medicine, including the curette, vaginal speculum and the uterine sound. In his 1829 treatise Recherches sur le traitement du cancer he coined the term “metastasis” as a definition for the spread of cancer.
FRANCOIS-JOSEPH-VICTOR BROUSSAIS (1772-1838) the French physician who believed in the importance of physiology (branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of living organisms and their parts). He believed that diseases occurred when normal functions failed or were modified. Broussais’ theory, known as medical physiology, argued that some diseases are just a result of irritation due to excitation or stimulation. This medical physiology became the most popular form of medial theory in Paris in the 19th century.
PHILIPPE-JEAN PELLETAN (1747-1829) the French surgeon who was present at the crime scene, moments after the assassination of Jean-Paul Marat, and who signed the death certificate. Following the death of the 10 year old Lousis XVII, he preformed the autopsy. He was also appointed consultant-surgeon to Napoleon Bonaparte.
PIERRE FOUQUIER (1776-1850) the physician and professor of medicine who was the doctor of Charles X and of Louis-Philippe
AUGUSTIN JACOB LANDRE-BEAUVAIS SIGNED TWICE (1772-1840) the French surgeon best known for his description of rheumatoid arthritis, now regarded as the first modern-day account of the disease, professor of clinical medicine at the Salpetriere, and author of several medical texts. He has signed in his attendance, “Landre Beauvais”, and later handwrote and signed in French, but translated: “20 professors present, Landre Beauvais”
There are many more yet to be identified names. Every signature is boldly signed. The document is in fine condition, with age toning.
The field of modern medicine began in France during the French Revolution (1795) and continued throughout the 19th century with the emancipation of medicine from the church and a firm reinforcement of its ties to the state. There was a tumultuous reorganizing of the hospital world that turned the hospital as mere sick house into a place dedicated to medical science, teaching and treatment. These 21 individuals played an important part in the development of modern medicine.