Claude François Lallemand
Biography of Claude François Lallemand
Claude François Lallemand began his medial career as a pupil at the military hospital in Metz and came to Spain as a military physician. Upon his return he went to Paris to study medicine and surgery and became prosector and intern under Guillaume Dupuytren (1777-1835). In these positions he performed autopsies and took advantage of the opportunities to conduct physiological studies of the brain. His dissertation on this topic earned him the medical doctorate in 1819. His thesis was on the role of pathology in the elucidation of physiological queries, and especially on the brain's physiology.
In the same year, due to fortunate circumstances, he was appointed professor Clinical Surgery at the Medical School of Montpellier, and was appointed head of the surgical ward of the Hôpital civil et militaire Saint-Éloi, besides Jacques Delpech (1772-1832)
From 1820 to 1834, following the example of Giovanni Battista Morgagni (1682-1771), Lallemand, in the form of letters, published a series of clinical observations and pathological reports discussing the nature of infectious diseases of the meninges and of the brain. These books contain some of the most remarkable observations on infectious brain diseases at this time.
In 1823 he was deposed from his position because of clerical intrigue and had to leave Montpellier for a period. However, 10 month later he was rehabilitated by the Conseil royal de l'instruction publique in Paris. A paper published by him in 1824 deals with this suspension.
After Delpech was murdered by a female patient on October 28, 1832, Lallemand became the doyen of surgery in southern France. He was frequently consulted by Italians, Spaniards and Americans, sometimes for diseases of the brain, a field which had occupied him a great deal. One of his patients in Montpellier was Ibrahim Pasha (1789-1848), son of Mohammad Ali (1769-1849), pasha and
viceroy of Egypt. Ibrahim Pasha became viceroi of Egypt from 1848 – but ruled for only the last 40 days of his life.
Lallemand's inflammatory warnings about the dangers of spermatorrhoea, in Des pertes séminales involontaires, brought back to life the age-old belief that loss of sperm could be dangerous to health. This became a major medical concern throughout the Western world. Lallemand introduced circumcision as treatment for masturbation in boys and “spermatorrhoea” (involuntary loss of semen) in men. He suggested widespread circumcision of young boys as preventive of masturbation. His ideas were not taken up in Europe, but fell on fertile ground in Britain and USA.
Lallemand was elected member of the Paris Academy of Sciences in 1845.He then left Montpellier and lived in Paris, spending much of his time on philosophical studies, until his death in 1853.