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Marcel Emile Joseph Lermoyez

Born 1858
Died 1929

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French otolaryngologist, born July 24, 1858, Cambrai, Nord; died February 1, 1929, Paris.

Biography of Marcel Emile Joseph Lermoyez

Marcel Lermoyez, the son of a roadway and bridge engineer in Cambrai, was orphaned when 16. He was tutored by Leblane, a distinguished member of the Institute of Archaeology, and was a brilliant schoolboy with a particular interest in art and music - he wrote an opera.

Lermoyez studied medicine in Paris, becoming Externe 1878, Interne 1880, and received his doctorate in 1886. Following graduation he interned with Achille Gouguenheim (1839–) at the Lareboisière - then the only ear, nose and thorax service.

Lermoyez became Médecin des Hôpitaux in 1891, and in 1892 founded the journal Annales des Maladies des Oreilles et du Larynx. That year he went to Vienna to spend some time with Adam Politzer (1835-1920) and decided to specialise in oto-rhino-laryngology. He established a private clinic in his specialty in 1896, and in 1898 was appointed to the Hôpital Saint-Antoine where he created an otolaryngology service. This department attracted large numbers of students, although he was never appointed to an official teaching position.

Lermoyez wrote on most aspects of his speciality. His most important work concern tuberculosis of the ear, otosclerosis, and otogenous (otogen) meningitis. He was also a skilled surgeon and distinguished himself with operations of abscesses of the brain, sinusphlebitis and meningitis. In one of his last works he proved that a bilateral posticus paralysis most often was due to syphilis. In 1910 he was the first otologist after Prosper Ménière (1799-1862) to be elected to the Academy of Medicine.

Lermoyez was probably the most influential force in founding otolaryngology as a speciality in France, extremely productive in all fields until the death of his son in 1923 as a result of wounds received during the 1st World War. After this he withdrew completely and remained depressed until his death.

Besides his own works, Lermoyez contributed to Charles Joseph Bouchard's (1837-1915) Traité de pathologie générale, Pierre Robin's (1867-1950) Traité de thérapeutique appliquée, and Jacques-Joseph Grancher (1843-1907) and Jules Comby's (1853-1947) Traité des maladies de l'enfance.

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