Living with asthma in 19th-century France: The doctor, Armand Trousseau, and the patient, Emile Pereire
(2020) Journal of Medical Biography, 28 (1), pp. 15-23.
Major advances in the French medical system following the French Revolution have stimulated a rich historiography of which Michel Foucault’s Naissance de la clinique: une archéologie du regard médical (1963) and Erwin H. Ackerknecht’s Medicine at the Paris Hospital, 1794–1848 (1967) are of lasting significance. Changes in the organisation and structure of hospitals accompanied the development and availability of new medical technologies and procedures and encouraged a more intense study of the aetiology and pathology of disease. Theories about asthma and its treatment profited from this dynamic environment as Classical Greek doctrines about the effect of the humours on bodily imbalance gave way to an increasingly more precise understanding of the nature and cause of asthma. The clinician and teacher, Armand Trousseau (1801–1867), who held the chair of Clinical Medicine at the Hôtel-Dieu in Paris and was himself an asthmatic, promoted new theories about the illness and developed innovative ways of dealing with its effects. Among his patients was the banker and financier, Emile Pereire (1800–1875), a lifelong asthmatic. Based on the Pereire Family Archives (hereafter AFP), the case of Emile Pereire provides a preface to the later case of that other, more famous, asthmatic, Marcel Proust. © The Author(s) 2018.
Asthma; history; Pereire; Trousseau