Lives of the fellows

Jules Stahl

b.6 October 1902 d.14 March 1984
MB Strasbourg(1931) Hon MAAP(1957) Hon FACP(1962) FRCP(1970)

Jules Stahl, one of the founders and first president of the European Association of Internal Medicine (AEMIE), was born at Barr in Alsace where his father, also Jules Stahl, was a chemist. He studied medicine at the University of Strasbourg, entering the Clinique Médicale B in 1926 where he undertook his clinical work.

From the beginning Jules Stahl was greatly attracted to research and involved in the early work on insulin therapy. In 1930 he began experimental studies on a hyperglycaemic factor which was ultimately shown to correspond to glucagon. Subsequently, he collaborated in various basic studies relative to carbon monoxide intoxication, thyroid stimulating hormone determinsation in biological fluids, pituitary-thyroid feed-back, and pathophysiological problems of hypochloraemia.

In 1934 he spent a year as a Rockefeller Foundation fellow at the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York, working with R F Loeb and D W Atchley, who became his lifelong friends. This period in the United States strengthened his own views on the essential role played by pathophysiology and clinical investigation in the training of internists. They remained his guidelines when organizing clinical research at a later stage of his career: the pathogenesis of oedema, hepatic effects of glucagon, and blood ammonia and liver diseases were the three main areas of his research. He wrote numerous papers, and gave many lectures, on the results of this research. He became professor of internal medicine at Strasbourg in 1946, and in 1948 was appointed head of the Clinique Médicale B where he remained until his retirement in 1974. Even after his retirement he continued to participate in the life of the department by clinical presentations of patients to students, by revising papers for publication, enabling his colleagues to profit from his wide knowledge of medical bibliography, and by undertaking all the translation work required by the secretariat of the AEMIE.

An accomplished scientist, but also a humanist in the true sense of the word, Jules Stahl was above all a highly talented and renowned physician, an impartial and selfless professional who gained the admiration of all his patients. His attitude towards his patients reflected his personal view of internal medicine: he never behaved as an omniscient super-specialist, but endeavoured to create a doctor/patient synthesis which would permit the harmonious integration of clinical data for the ultimate benefit of the patient.

Jules Stahl was a brilliant teacher able to impart his knowledge to students in a lively and stimulating manner. During ward rounds his students greatly appreciated the way in which he would instruct them in the art of taking case histories and making physical examinations. He was also an excellent linguist and received invitations to lecture in many countries, and to act as chairman at various congresses. He was a convinced European, believing that his own concept of internal medicine would be strengthened and more widely applied if it could be developed within all the countries of the European Community.

He married Annette Simon, daughter of Maurice Simon, a leather manufacturer, in 1936. They had one son and two daughters. Outside his work and his family, Jules’s main interest was listening to chamber music.

JM Brogard

(Volume VIII, page 483)

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