Lives of the fellows

Gustave Jean Philippe Monod

b.9 September 1878 d.8 August 1932
MD Paris(1910) MRCP(1913) FRCP(1931)

Liked and respected in both France and Britain, Monod was a medical link between the two countries. Urbanity and charm helped him as a spa physician, but his colleagues, like his patients at Vichy, were also aware of his calm philosophy and disregard of self. The Monods came of the Reformed Protestant or Waldensian Church, in which his father, Théodore Monod, was a minister. His mother, a cousin of his father, was Gertrude, daughter of Gustave Monod, a physician.

Born in Paris, he went from the Lycée Henri IV to the University of Paris. After graduation he worked in mental hospitals and, later, on tuberculosis of bones and joints, before settling at Vichy in 1920. During the First World War he saw service with the British Army and was awarded the Croix de Guerre. He looked on England as his second country, and his French friends found in his conversation ‘des expressions, des manières de penser, voire des plaisanteries, qui venaient directement d’Outre-Manche’.

Returning to his practice, he became not only an experienced physician, to whom British and American doctors sent their patients with confidence, but also a serious student of the effects of spa waters, especially in gastrohepatic disorders. Believing that these waters, though capable of harm, had anti-anaphylactic properties that could be exploited in chronic diseases, he tested his views by careful observation.

Much concerned with diabetes, he gave a paper in Brussels, as early as 1924, on the past, present, and future of insulin (Ann. Soc. roy. Sci. méd. nat. Brux., 1924, 79, 76-80). He was a founder of the International Society of Medical Hydrology and its president for two years.

Virtually bilingual, Monod had many friends here. Apart from his qualities as a doctor, he was a man of taste and originality, as was shown, for example, by his talk on Pasteur as an artist, given at a soirée of the Royal Society of Medicine, and by an article in The Lancet (1926, 1, 512-14) entitled ‘From Cagliostro to Coué: imagination as a method of treatment’. The Faculté de Médecine in Paris had asked him to keep in touch with the profession in this country, and he contributed Paris Letters to the British Medical Journal. His own Government made him a Knight of the Legion of Honour.

Madame Monod was also of a Waldensian family. They had two girls. Their home was a centre of hospitality and medical reciprocity.

Richard R Trail

[, 1932, 2, 424; Lancet, 1932, 2, 544; Presse therm. clim., 1932, 73, 664-7.]

(Volume V, page 288)

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