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Biographical entry Méric, Victor de (1811 - 1876)

MRCS June 11th 1847; FRCS June 12th 1863; MD Glasgow 1847.

28 June 1811
29 August 1876
General surgeon


Born at Strasbourg on June 28th, 1811, of a good French family not indigenous to Alsace. He came to England when young and was engaged in teaching and literature until 1844.

At the age of 33 he started to study medicine at Trinity College, Dublin; passed on to Glasgow, where he graduated MD in 1847, then to Paris, where he was chiefly under the teaching of Ricord, of whose lectures he published a translation in the Lancet (1847, 443, etc; 1848, i, 6, etc.). From this time syphilis became the principal subject of his study and the chief source of his practice. In 1856 he gained the Jacksonian Prize for an essay on this subject, and in 1858 treated of it in the Lettsomian Lectures at the Medical Society of London, which were published in the Lancet (1858, 28, etc.). He also wrote Prophylactic and Curative Syphilization (8vo, 1853) and Cases of Syphilitic Affection of the Third Nerve (8vo, 1870).

He became Surgeon to the German Hospital and to the Royal Free Hospital, and in 1875 was President of the Medical Society of London. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Medico-Chirurgical Society after 1867, and at the time of his death a member of its Library Committee.

De Méric was well known and esteemed as a journalist and an active member of the Medical Societies. He was the writer for many years of the Lancet's "Mirror of Hospital Practice", the inventor of that kind of medical journalism which he did remarkably well.

His gentle, courteous manner made him an acceptable visitor in all hospitals ; he was gladly assisted; he was prudent and judicious in his selection of the cases, and his commentaries on them often showed a much larger knowledge of his profession than his seeming limitation of himself to syphilis would have led one to suspect. He was one of the witnesses examined at length by the Committee appointed to inquire into the Pathology and Treatment of the Venereal Diseases; he advocated the preventive measures - such as were authorized in the Contagious Diseases Act. He was an excellent speaker, and his last contribution to the study of syphilis was in the debate at the Pathological Society (Trans Pathol Soc Lond, 1875-6, xxvii, 341), when, though he was feeble through recent and still present illness, he spoke with an attractive fervour, and all the clearness and force of well chosen-words, which made him, whether in debate or in ordinary conversation, one of the pleasantest men to listen to.

He practised at 52 Brook Street, London, W. For years he suffered from chronic bronchitis; early in 1876 he was attacked by prostatitis, later he exhibited signs indicating pyloric obstruction. He died on Aug. 29th, 1876. His photograph is in the Fellows' Album. His son, Henry de Méric, MRCS, continued the work of his father without success, and died in very reduced circumstances in 1920.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Eulogy by Sir James Paget, Proc Roy Med-Chir Soc, 1875-80, viii, 188. Lancet, 1876, ii, 413].

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