- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Ludwig Georg Courvoisier

Born  1843
Died  1918

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Swiss surgeon, born November 10, 1843, Basel; died April 8, 1918, Basel.

Biography of Ludwig Georg Courvoisier

Ludwig Georg Courvoisier was the son of the merchant Georg Kaufmann and Mary, née Louwndes, daughter of a clergyman from Wales. He began his studies at the University of Göttingen and then returned to Basel where one of his teachers was the surgeon August Socin (1837–1899), one of the first surgeons in Europe to advocate the use of Joseph Lister’s (1827-1912) antiseptic techniques..

Courvoisier graduated M.D. from the University of Basel in 1868 and then undertook postgraduate studies in London with Sir William Ferguson (1808-1877) and Sir Thomas Spencer Wells (1818-1897) and then spent a year in Vienna with Theodor Billroth (1829-1894) and Vincenz Czerny (1842-1916).

During the Franco-Prussian war he served with his old teacher Socin on the German side in the Military Hospital in Karlsruhe. After the war he worked for 30 years in the Diakonissenspital (deaconess hospital) in Riehen, a small town on the German-Swiss border. Besides the he had a successful private clinic I Basel.

He was habilitated for surgery in 1880 in Basel, and in 1888 the University of Basel gave him the title of professor extraordinary of surgery. In 1900, at last, he succeeded his old teacher as ordinarius.

Courvoisier was particularly recognised as a pioneer in surgery of the biliary tract. His great interest outside medicine was butterflies. He was a member og the Great Council and the council of education of the city of Basel.


  • Die häusliche Krankenpflege. Basel, 1874; 3rd edition, 1876.
  • Die neurome. Basel, 1886.
  • Kasuistisch-statistische Beiträge zur Pathologie und Chirurgie der Gallenwege. Leipzig, 1890. Obituary and bibliography in Correspondenzblatt für Schweizer Ärzte, Basel, 1918, 48: 1314-1319.

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