Histoire Chronologique de la Médicine et des Médecins (1695)

Histoire Chronologique de la Médicine et des Médecins (1695)

     

   

Jean Bernier, (1622-1698)

Born in Blois , on 17 April 1622 , Jean Bernier was the son of a draper. He obtained his medical degree from the University of Montpellier in 1647. Jean Bernier was physician to the Duchesse, Dowager of Orleans, Margarite of Lorraine, wife of Gaston of France, Duke of Orleans who died in 1672. Despite having such famous patients, he did not find sustained success as a physician. Consequently, he dedicated himself to become a satirist. Among his credits is A History of Blois, published in 1682.

This second edition of a Chronological History of the Medical Profession and Physicians was published the very same year, 1695 after the first edition created some interest. It remains Bernier’s most relevant work.

The work is divided into three parts.  According to Eloy, Nicolas Francois Joseph’s Dictionnaire Historique… 1778, this Chronological History of the Medical Profession and Physicians includes a “discussion of the duty of doctors toward patients and that of the patients toward the doctor.; of the usefulness of remedies and the abuse of the”. The second part discusses the history of greed, avarice, envy, perfidy, and the riches associated with the medical profession. It is not a History of Medicine in its traditional format. He makes caustic and satirical remarques regarding several French physicians of the time, including Lorme, Guénaut, Brayer and Bélay, physicians who attended the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, all of whom are unfairly treated in this book. The third part discusses diseases and patients, remedies in general, surgeons, apothecarist, and alternative medicine. Overall, the book is full of curious research without precise and accurate dates and facts. Not surprisingly the work has seen only one more edition in 1717.

Editorial notes by Andrew I Spielman.

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