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Sept 8, 1969

François Joseph Victor Broussais (1772-1838) System of Physiological Medicine

JAMA. 1969;209(10):1523. doi:10.1001/jama.1969.03160230057018

F. J. V. Broussais, a stormy medical figure in early 19th century France, was born at St. Malo, France, son of a Breton physician who was later killed by the Royalists. Following exposure to medicine as an apprentice in his father's practice, he served in combat as a sergeant with the Republic Army.1 In 1792, he studied in the hospital of St. Malo and gained experience as a naval surgeon against the British in government vessels as well as with privateers. Broussais went to Paris in 1800 and in 1803 received the MD degree, working under Bichat, Corvisart, and Pinel. Three years were then spent campaigning with Napoleon's forces. During these years he was developing, without experimental evidence, his theory of disease. After the fall of the emperor in 1814, Broussais returned to Paris and joined the medical faculty at the military hospital at Val-de-Grâce. In 1831, he became