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Jacques Calvé

Born  1875
Died  1954

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French orthopaedic surgeon, born August 18, 1875, Paris; died 1954, Berck-sur-Mer.

Biography of Jacques Calvé

Jacques Calvé studied in Paris, where he was intern from 1902 to 1906 and received his doctorate in 1906. From 1906 to 1920 he had an appointment at the Hôpital maritime in Berck Plage, on the northern coast of France. This hospital, which had 1100 beds, was dedicated to the long-term care of patients with bone and joint tuberculosis, many of whom came from the Paris area. Calve was influenced by the surgical director, Maxime Ménard (1872-1926), who had greatly influenced the orthopaedic management of tuberculosis, and also by the famous English orthopaedic surgeon Sir Armstrong Robert Jones (1857-1933), who was his friend.

When Ménard retired in 1925, Calvé succeeded him as director of the hospital and set about raising funds for the establishment of a new hospital and a trade school for tuberculous children. This was to a large degree made possible by donations from American residents in France, and the new hospital was duly named La Fondation Franco-Americaine de Berck. Calvé married the daughter of an officer in the US Army.

Calvé's description of "his" disease was based on radiographs of 500 hildren who were being treated for tuberculosis of the hip joints. Ten of these children turned out to have non-tuberculous flattening and fragmentation of the femoral capital epiphyses.

He is also remembered for introducing the method of treationg Pott’s paraplegia by tapping the abscess through an in vertebral foramen. After the liberation of France he went to live in the United States - his wife was an American - but he returned to Berck in 1953 an died there in his old hospital, at the age of 79 years.

Calvé's international reputation was enhanced by his dignified manner, personal charm and a kindly disposition.


  • Les appareils plâtrés.
    With Marcel Galland (born 1888). Paris, 1917.
  • Sur un nouveau traitement des paraplégies pottiques.
    Paris, 1918.

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