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Philippe Ricord

Philippe Ricord
Philippe Ricord, photographed by Étienne Carjat
Born (1800-12-10)December 10, 1800
Died 22 October 1889
Nationality French
Fields physician
Notable awards Montyon prize
man with knife and babies
Ricord caricatured by André Gill, 1867

Philippe Ricord (10 December 1800 – 22 October 1889) was a French physician.


  • Biography 1
  • Ricord's formula 2
  • Works 3
  • Notes 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7


Philippe Ricord was born on 10 December 1800 in Baltimore. His father had escaped the French Revolution in 1790 from Marseille. He met French naturalist Charles Alexandre Lesueur, who took him back to Paris in 1820. He worked for Lesueur as curator of his specimens, and at hospitals such as Val-de-Grâce and Hôtel-Dieu de Paris. He studied under Guillaume Dupuytren, but fell out with him when Ricord published an article pointing out a procedure Dupuytren claimed to have invented was already in use in America. He transferred to Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital to study under Jacques Lisfranc de St. Martin. He graduated in medicine in 1826.[1] After practicing in the provinces he returned in 1828 to the capital, and worked there as a surgeon, specializing in venereal diseases. Doctor Ricord was surgeon in chief to the hospital for venereal diseases and to the Hôpital du Midi. He won a worldwide reputation in his special field. For his suggestions on the cure of varicocele and on the operation of urethroplasty he received in 1842 one of the Montyon prizes.

In 1838, he proved John Hunter's self-experiment wrong, thus showing that syphilis and gonorrhea are not the same disease. Ricord's chancre is the parchment-like initial lesion of syphilis.

Among his patients in Paris was the composer Gaetano Donizetti who consulted him (as well as two other doctors, in August 1845. In increasingly declining health, the composer's nephew, Andrea, was sent by his father to Paris from Constantinople and there he consulted Dr. Ricord in January 1846. The doctor recorded his opinion that, while it ultimately may be better for the composer's health for him to be in Italy, it was not advisable for him to travel until the Spring. On 28 January, after again consulting Dr. Ricord and two additional doctors, Andrea received their written opinion after an examination. In summary, it stated that the doctors "believe that M. Donizetti no longer is capable of calculating sanely the significance of his decisions".[2] The following month, the composer was institutionalized for eighteen months before leaving Paris in late 1847 and dying in his hometown of Bergamo in Italy in April 1848, at age 51.

In 1862 Ricord was appointed physician in ordinary to Prince Napoleon. On 26 October 1869, he was named consulting surgeon to Napoleon III. For his services in the ambulance corps during the siege of Paris he was made Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor in 1871.[3]

He was the brother of Jean Baptiste Ricord (1777–1837) who was a physician and naturalist in America.[4] Jean Baptiste's son (Phillipe's nephew) took the name John Ricord, became a lawyer who practiced law in several notable cases while he traveled through the Republic of Texas, Oregon Territory, the Kingdom of Hawaii, and the California Gold Rush. John Ricord returned to live with Phillipe where he died in 1861.[5] There seems to be a controversy as to whether Jean Alfred Fournier, student of Ricord, was actually his son-in-law[6]

Ricord's formula

Ricord developed an innovative formula for the treatment of urethritis, largely used at least up to the late 1910s. It consists of a solution containing 1g zinc sulfate, 2g lead acetate, 4g Sydenham laudanum and catechu tincture in 200ml of distilled water. This formula was widely known and employed for the washing of tissue affected by simple urethritis thanks to its astringent and antiseptic properties.[7]


  • De l'emploi du speculum (Paris, 1833)
  • De la blennorrhagie de la femme (1834)
  • Emploi de l'onguent mercuriel dans le traitement de l'eresipele (1836)
  • Monographie du chancre (1837)
  • Théorie sur la nature et le traite-ment de l'epididymite (1838)
  • Traite des maladies veneriennes (8 volumes, 1838; fourth edition, 1866; English translation, A Practical Lecture on Venereal Diseases, 1842; thirteenth edition, 1854)
  • De l'ophthalmie blennorrhagique (1842)
  • Clinique iconographique de l'hôpital des veneriens (1842–1851)
  • De la syphilisation (1853)
  • Lettres sur la syphilis (1851; third edition, 1863; English translation, 1853)
  • Leçons sur le chancre (1858; second edition, 1860; English translation, 1859)


  1. ^ Oriel, J D (December 1989). "Eminent venereologists. 3. Philippe Ricord".  
  2. ^ Drs. Calmeil, Mitivié, and Ricord to Andrea Donizetti, 28 January 1846, in Weinstock 1963, p. 246
  3. ^ New International Encyclopedia
  4. ^ Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John (1888). James Grant Wilson, John Fiske, eds. Appleton's cyclopædia of American biography 5. p. 247. 
  5. ^ Andrew Forest Muir. "Ricord, John". The Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  6. ^ Alex Dracobly. "The Myth of Philippe Ricord's Son-in-Law". Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  7. ^ Renault, Alexander (1914), Malattie Blenorragiche delle vie Genito-Urinarie, Paris: Vigot Frères Editeurs, p. 31 .


  •  Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Ricord, Jean Baptiste".  
  • Weinstock, Herbert (1963), Donizetti and the World of Opera in Italy, Paris and Vienna in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century, New York: Random House.

Further reading

  • Renner, Claude (2008). "About Philippe Ricord".  
  • "Philippe Ricord (1800–1889), syphilographer".  
  •  "Ricord, Philippe".  

External links

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