Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital

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Pitié-Salpêtrière
AP-HP
Geography
Location Paris, France
Organisation
Care system Public
Services
Emergency department Yes
Beds 1,603
Links
Website http://www.aphp.fr
Lists Hospitals in France
The Mazarin entrance to the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital

The Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière) is a celebrated teaching hospital in Paris. Part of the Assistance publique - Hôpitaux de Paris, it is one of Europe's largest hospitals.[1]

History[edit]

The Salpêtrière was originally a gunpowder factory ("salpêtre" being a constituent of gunpowder), but was converted to a dumping ground for the poor of Paris. It served as a prison for prostitutes, and a holding place for the mentally disabled, criminally insane, epileptics, and the poor; it was also notable for its population of rats.

In 1656, Louis XIV charged the architect Libéral Bruant to build a hospital on the location of the factory, founding the Hospice de la Salpêtrière. The building was expanded in 1684.

By the eve of the Revolution, it had become the world's largest hospital, with a capacity of 10,000 patients plus 300 prisoners, largely prostitutes swept from the streets of Paris. From La Salpêtrière they were paired with convicts and forcibly expatriated to New France.

During the September massacres of 1792, the Salpêtrière was stormed on the night of 3/4 September by a mob from the impoverished working-class district of the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, with the avowed intention of releasing the detained street-girls; 134 of the prostitutes were released; twenty-five madwomen were less fortunate and were dragged, some still in their chains, into the streets and murdered.[2] Madame Roland, a Girondin supporter of the Revolution in its first liberalising stages, recorded in her Memoirs that the Revolution "has been stained by villains and become hideous".[3]

1857 lithograph by Armand Gautier, showing personifications of dementia, megalomania, acute mania, melancholia, idiocy, hallucination, erotomania and paralysis in the gardens of the Hospice de la Salpêtrière.
Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital Chapel

In the first half of the 19th century, the first humanitarian reforms in the treatment of the violently insane were initiated here by Philippe Pinel, friend of the Encyclopédistes; his sculptural monument stands before the main entrance in Place Marie-Curie, Boulevard de L'Hôpital. Later, when Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot took over the department, the Salpêtrière became known as a psychiatric centre. Charcot is often credited as the founder of modern neurology. His teaching activities on the Salpêtrière's wards helped to elucidate the natural history and pathophysiology of many human illnesses including neurosyphilis, epilepsy, and stroke. Students came from all over Europe to listen to Charcot's lectures. Among them was a young Sigmund Freud.

The Hôpital de la Pitié, founded about 1612, was moved next to the Salpêtrière in 1911 and fused with it in 1964 to form the Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière. The Pitié-Salpêtrière is now a general teaching hospital with departments focusing on most major medical specialities.

Numerous celebrities have been treated at the Salpêtrière, including Michael Schumacher,[4] Ronaldo,[4] Prince Rainier of Monaco,[5] Alain Delon, Gérard Depardieu, and Valérie Trierweiler.[6] Former president Jacques Chirac had a pacemaker fitted at the Salpêtrière in 2008.[7] Celebrities have also breathed their last at the Pitié-Salpêtrière, including the singer Josephine Baker in 1975, Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997,[8] Manhattan actor / model Kai Wong in 2000 and French bicycle racer Laurent Fignon in 2010.

Buildings[edit]

Hospital Chapel[edit]

Chapelle de la Salpêtrière (Hospital Chapel), at n° 47 Boulevard de l'Hôpital is one of the masterpieces of Libéral Bruant, architect of Les Invalides. It was built around 1675, on the model of a Greek cross and has four central chapels each capable of holding a congregation of some 1,000 people. Its central octagonal cupola is illuminated by picture windows in circular arcs.

Philippe Pinel monument[edit]

In the place in front of the main entrance to the Hospital, there is a large bronze monument to Philippe Pinel, who was chief physician of the Hospice from 1795 to his death in 1826. The Salpêtrière was, at the time, like a large village, with seven thousand elderly indigent and ailing women, an entrenched bureaucracy, a teeming market and huge infirmaries. Pinel created an inoculation clinic in his service at the Salpêtrière in 1799 and the first vaccination in Paris was given there in April 1800.

Pinel's monument at La Salpêtrière, Ludowig Durand, sculptor, 1885[9]

Notable doctors[edit]

Through its history, the Pitié-Salpétrière hosted notable doctors, among others:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "How to conduct European clinical trials from the Paris Region?". CLINICAL TRIALS. BioTeam® Paris Region. February 2003. Retrieved 30 September 2013. 
  2. ^ The episode is discussed in detail by Mary Bosworth, "Anatomy of a Massacre: Gender, Power, and Punishment in Revolutionary Paris" Violence Against Women, 7.10, (2001:1101–1121).
  3. ^ Thirza Vallois, "Paris Kiosque: La Salpêtrière"[dead link]
  4. ^ a b "Interview with Professor Gérard Saillant". Fia.com. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  5. ^ "Prince Rainier health "worrying"". BBC News. 2005-03-25. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  6. ^ "A Survivor of the Painful Road to Hell and Back". Buzzle.com. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  7. ^ "Europe | France's Chirac gets pacemaker". BBC News. 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  8. ^ Series of Real-Time Reports involving the tragic death of Diana, Princess of Wales[dead link]
  9. ^ N. Mclntyre, "The Medical Statues of Paris"

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°50′13″N 2°21′54″E / 48.837°N 2.365°E / 48.837; 2.365