Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital  

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Planche XXIII of Attitudes passionnelles, a series of ten photographs first published in the book Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière (1875 - 1879). The photo depicts Salpêtrière star patient Louise Augustine.
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Planche XXIII of Attitudes passionnelles, a series of ten photographs first published in the book Iconographie photographique de la Salpêtrière (1875 - 1879). The photo depicts Salpêtrière star patient Louise Augustine.

"In the last few decades of the nineteenth century, the Salpêtrière was what it had always been: a kind of feminine inferno, a citta dolorosa confining four thousand incurable or mad women. It was a nightmare in the midst of Paris’s Belle Epoque." --Georges Didi-Huberman

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital (Groupe hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière) is a teaching hospital located in Paris, France. It is one of Europe's largest hospitals.

One of its most famous professors, Jean-Martin Charcot, is often credited as the founder of modern neurology. His teaching activities on the Salpêtrière's wards helped to elucidate the natural history and pathophysiology of many human illnesses including neurosyphilis, epilepsy, and stroke.

History

The Salpêtrière was originally a gunpowder factory ("salpêtre" being a constituent of gunpowder), but was converted to a dumping ground for the poor of Paris. It served as a prison for prostitutes, and a holding place for the mentally disabled, criminally insane, epileptics, and the poor; it was also notable for its population of rats.

In 1656, Louis XIV charged the architect Libéral Bruant to build a hospital on the location of the factory, founding the Hospice de la Salpêtrière. The building was expanded in 1684.

By the eve of the Revolution, it had become the world's largest hospital, with a capacity of 10,000 patients plus 300 prisoners, largely prostitutes swept from the streets of Paris. From La Salpêtrière they were paired with convicts and forcibly expatriated to New France.

During the September massacres of 1792, the Salpêtrière was stormed on the night of 3/4 September by a mob from the impoverished working-class district of the Faubourg Saint-Marcel, with the avowed intention of releasing the detained street-girls; 134 of the prostitutes were released; twenty-five madwomen were less fortunate and were dragged, some still in their chains, into the streets and murdered. Madame Roland, a Girondin supporter of the Revolution in its first liberalising stages, recorded in her Memoirs that the Revolution "has been stained by villains and become hideous".

In the first half of the 19th century, the first humanitarian reforms in the treatment of the violently insane were initiated here by Philippe Pinel, friend of the Encyclopédistes; his sculptural monument stands before the main entrance in Place Marie-Curie, Boulevard de L'Hôpital. Later, when Dr. Jean-Martin Charcot took over the department, the Salpêtrière became known as a psychiatric centre. Charcot is often credited as the founder of modern neurology. His teaching activities on the Salpêtrière's wards helped to elucidate the natural history and pathophysiology of many human illnesses including neurosyphilis, epilepsy, and stroke. Students came from all over Europe to listen to Charcot's lectures. Among them was a young Sigmund Freud.

The Pitié-Salpêtrière is now a general teaching hospital with departments focusing on most major medical specialities.

Numerous celebrities have been treated at the Salpêtrière, including Michael Schumacher, Ronaldo, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Alain Delon and Gérard Depardieu Former president Jacques Chirac had a pacemaker fitted at the Salpêtrière in 2008.

Diana, Princess of Wales, died at the Salpêtrière in 1997, as did Josephine Baker in 1975, and French bicycle racer Laurent Fignon in 2010.

Famous doctors

Through its history, the Pitié-Salpétrière hosted famous doctors, among others:

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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