Great obscure Physicians


Edtions L'Harmattan, Paris 2010

Octobre 2012                       André J. Fabre        

This book intends to remind some magnificent but obscure figures in Medicine History. Many of them obtained nothing more than a  transient glory, others  remained totally ignored from their contemporaries, all have been rapidly forgotten

A total of 35 physicians are presented in this book, it goes from Antiquity to modern times through Middle Ages, the Enlightenment and the proud Nineteenth century so much  attached to dreams of  scientific knowledge.

They came from many countries, from France to Poland but some of the most attaching figures come straight from Literature : thus Balzac's Dr Bianchon appearing no less than 28 times in "The Human Coimedy

Many questions are thus  raised, and among them : how can a  Physician obtain some sort of  fulfillment outside his profession : Dr. Buchner has been very soon forgotten after his death but Wozzeck is still living among us.

Each of us thinks, very rightly, to have had a very different life from the  others, but where, in the end, stands the most valuable  part of our life's experiences ?

Adrien Proust was highly praised  by his pairs : his monumental works on all  major Health issues are now forgotten and Posterity denies to him any other title than being the  "Father of the little Marcel"..

Who knows that  Rabelais wrote a  long dissertation on such a touchy subject as cannabis? And that Axel Munthe was for a long time General Practitioner in Paris?

Only few rare specialists are aware that Tronchin, whose name sends some kind of Molieresque signals, was a great precursor in modern medicine with an amazing experience in four European countries?

At the end, who were all those obscure Physicians? One thing is sure they practiced Medicine  and Medicine, as priesthood, forever marks all those who dedicated their life to duty.


.1. Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910): first female Physician in Modern Times

.2. Mikhail Boulgakov (1891-1940): anti communist favorite writer of Stalin

.3. Edme Joachim Bourdois de la Motte (1754-1835) Physician of the poor and the Altesses

.4. Karl Georg Büchner (1813-1837), physician, dramatist and heading romantic figure

.5. Aulius Cornelius Celsus (25 a.j.c.-50) : discoverer of oncoloy                 

.6. Cheiron le centaure, Father of surgery

.7. Louis-Napoléon Chernowiz (1812-1881), a French physician born in Poland, celebrated in Brazil

.8. Nicolas Copernic (1473-1543) physician specialist in celestial  revolutions

.9. Garcia da Orta (1500-1568) founder and martyr of Tropical Medicine

.10. David P. Davies (1955-), Hong Kong and cribs Unexpected Death      

11. Alfred Döblin (1878-1957) from Revolution to Medicine in Germany, USA and France

.12. "Docteur "Horace Bianchon", Physician of the "Human Comedy" ofHonore de Balzac                               

.13. Leonardo Fioravanti (1517-1588) and Andreano Zuccarelli : fist surgeons who dared practice splenic ablation

.14 Louis Frank (1761-1825), German Physician in Bonaparte's Egypt Army

.15. Madeleine Gebelin Brest (1842-1925) : female Physician in a world ruled by men

.16. " Docteur Husson" and his miraculous treatment of gut                 

.17. Robert koch (1843-1910) creator of modern bacteriology     

.18. Georges Marinesco (1863-1938): a neurologist inventor of medical films

.19. Barry Marshall (1951) a Physician from Australia maintaining against al others that stomach ulcers are an infectious disease                        

.20. Axel Munthe (1857-1949), a GP from Sweden in Paris and Host of Royal Altesses in Capri

.21. Prosper Antoine Payerne (1806-1886) pioneer in submarine adventure                       

.22. Biaggio Pernice (1854-1906): a scientist without laboratory who discovered chromosomal abnormalities

.23. François Charles de Pouqueville (1770-1835) the amazing destiny of a lover of Ancient Greece                                                       

.24. Adrien Proust (1834-1903): a celebrated Father overshadowed by his sons  

.25. François Rabelais (1483-1553): unexpected Apologist of Cannabis    

.26. Jean-François Regnard (1655-1709): author of a sanitary report on Lapland …at the time of Louis  XIV              

.27. Jean Reverzy (1914-1959): Physician, Résistant and Writer from Lyon      

.28. Hildegarde de Bingen (1098-1199): Saint and Physician of Middle Ages                      

.29. Victor Segalen (1878-1919): Wrier, Archeologist and Physician             

.30. Fred Silverman (1914-2006) and the "Battered Children Syndrome"          

.31. Hans Sloane (1660-1753), Physician, Encyclopedist and great friend of France

.32. Gabriel Tapié de Celeyran (1870-1930) Physician cousin of  Toulouse Lautrec                    

.33. Anton Pavlovitch Tchekhov (1860-1904) and the perils of tobacco          

.34. Theodor Tronchin (1709-1781) : a "Soul Physician" in 18th Century              

.35. Louis Lazare Zamenhof (1859-1917) : Dreams of a Speech Community


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