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January 17, 1966


JAMA. 1966;195(3):215-216. doi:10.1001/jama.1966.03100030109035

Corvisart, physician to Napoleon and rediscoverer of Auenbrugger's studies on percussion, published one of the first treatises on heart disease in modern medicine, 150 years ago. Born in the village of Dricourt, then a part of Champagne but now in the Department of Ardennes, he was not particularly gifted in his early schooling. A professed interest in medicine and attendance at medical clinics in the Paris hospitals appeared only after he began the study of law. This preference for medicine angered his father, who refused to continue financial support. Without funds or friends, Corvisart obtained employment, shelter, and training at Hôtel-Dieu, the oldest hospital in Paris. In return for services as a male nurse, he received bed and board and an opportunity to continue medical training.

It is easy to believe that Corvisart's talents were soon recognized, and he became a favorite pupil of A. Antoine Louis and Petit, but

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