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Alfred Fournier (France)

The stamp

This stamp shows Alfred Fournier and was issued in France in 1947. It was released to raise funds for the fight against venereal disease.

The doctor

Jean Alfred Fournier was born in Paris on 12 May 1832. He studied medicine at the Hôpital du Midi in Paris, under Dr Phillppe Ricord who was an expert in the disease syphilis. Fournier became an expert in dermatology and worked at the great French dermatology hospital, Hôpital Saint Louis. He was also the first to show that tabes dorsalis was caused by syphilis.

The urology connection

Fournier’s name is associated with gangrene of the scrotum. This necrotising fasciitis (or bacterial synergistic gangrene), associated with diabetes, was said to have been described earlier by Dr H Baurienne in 1764, but what he actually described was infection after injury by an ox’s horn.

The biblical king Herod was said to have died of Fournier’s gangrene.  

Dermatology, venereology and urology have, historically, always been specialities which have a significant degree of overlap.

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