Louis Edouard Octave Crouzon
Biography of Louis Edouard Octave Crouzon
Louis Edouard Octave Crouzon entered the Faculty of Medicine at the University of his native city of Paris. Already before that he had been influenced in college by Pierre Marie Félix Janet (1859-1947) and had developed an interest in psychology. As a student in Paris he was very impressed by Paul Georges Dieulafoy (1839-1911) as a lecturer, then by Joseph Jules François Félix Babinski (1857-1932) and in particular Pierre Marie (1853-1940).
Crouzon graduated in medicine in 1900 and received postgraduate training with Philippe Charles Ernest Gaucher (1854-1918) and Marie, amongst others. He became chef de clinique et de laboratoire at the Hôtel Dieu in 1906 and was promoted to Médecin des hôpitaux in 1912. He was then attached to the staff of the Salpêtrière. During the First World War he was attached to the ambulance service, and was responsible for a military neurological service and the office of the under-secretary of state of the service for military health. The organisational abilities which he developed during this period were employed in later years in the field of social and community health.
After the war Crouzon continued his investigations into neurological conditions, especially in hereditary dystrophies, in particular the hereditary cerebellar ataxias. Working in these areas drew his attention to the cervical and lumbar spine deformities and in turn this led to investigations on chronic rheumatic disorders with a number of his colleagues at the Salpêtrière.
Crouzon remained with the Salpêtrière from 1919 until his retirement. He was noted for his industry, courtesy and dignified manner and he was involved with several academic bodies and became president of the Paris Neurological Society and secretary of the journal Revue Neurologique. He published many papers on neuropathology and neurogenetics and in later years became increasingly concerned with chronic arthritis of the elderly. He based several articles upon his observations of long-stay patients in the wards of the Salpêtrière and compared his findings with those made by Jean-martin Charcot (1825-1893) in the same hospital many years previously.
Crouzon maintained his interest in psychiatry and in the overall problems of the effects of disease at the personal level. He became more and more interested in the training of staff to assist patients in this regard and in the medico-legal aspects of medical problems.
His deep interest in all matters pertaining to social medicine stemmed from his experiences in the war, but should also be probably dated from his student days and the influence of Pierre Janet. As a result of this, a special chair was created for him, La Chaire d’assistance medico-sociale, to which he was appointed in 1937.
A man of broad interests, he had a considerable knowledge of anthropology. He was a holder of the Croix de Guerre and a commander of the Légion d’Honneur. In his obituary he was described as being «warm, kind, good, mellow, generous, diligent and patient. He knew what he wanted to do, why he wanted to do it; he knew what to do and how to do it; he was a man armed for the battles of life».