1902 Encyclopedia > Philippe Pinel

Philippe Pinel
French physician
(1745-1826)




PHILIPPE PINEL (1745-1826), a distinguished French physician, was born at the chateau of Rascas, Saint-André, in the department of Tarn, France, on April 20, 1745. He studied at Lavaur and afterwards at the university of Toulouse, where he took his doctor's degree in 1773. From Montpellier, where he taught mathematics and at the same time carried on his medical studies, he removed in 1778 to Paris, engaging there chiefly in literary work connected with his profession. His first publication was a French translation of Cullen's Nosology (1785); it was followed by an edition of the works of Baglivi (1788), and in 1791 he published a Traité médico-philosophique de l'aliénation mentale. In 1792 he became head physician of the Bicêtre, and two years afterwards he received the corresponding appointment at the Salpêtrière, where he began to deliver a course of clinical lectures ; these formed the basis of his Nosographie philosophique (1798 ; 6th ed. 1818), which was further developed in La Médecine clinique (1802). Pinel was made a member of the Institute in 1803, and soon afterwards was appointed professor of pathology in the École de Médecine. Neither as a lecturer nor as an author, however, did he achieve great success, and his enduring fame rests entirely upon the fact that by his courageous action he was among the first to introduce the humane treatment of the insane, removing with his own hands the bonds of patients who had been chained to the wall for years. See vol. xiii. p. 110. He died at Paris on October 26, 1826.






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