The Hôpital universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière is a celebrated teaching hospital in the 13th arrondissement of Paris. Part of the Assistance publique – Hôpitaux de Paris and a teaching hospital of Sorbonne University, it is one of Europe’s largest hospitals.
Students came from across Europe to witness Charcot’s clinical demonstrations: among them – in 1885 – was the 29-year old Sigmund Freud who translated Charcot’s lectures into German and whose deconstruction of the lectures on hysteria formed the foundations of psychoanalysis. An early English translation of Charcot’s Clinical Lectures (1877, 1881) was made by the Irish physician and statesman George Sigerson. A rather negative portrait of Charcot’s clinical style emerges in the 1929 autobiographical memoir – The Story of San Michele – of the Swedish physician Axel Munthe, whose early idolatry of Charcot gave way to a kind of obsessive antagonism.
The Hôpital de la Pitié, founded about 1612, was moved next to the Salpêtrière in 1911 and fused with it in 1964 to form the Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpêtrière. The Pitié-Salpêtrière is now a general teaching hospital with departments focusing on most major medical specialities.
Numerous celebrities have been treated at the Salpêtrière, including Michael Schumacher, Ronaldo, Prince Rainier of Monaco, Alain Delon, Gérard Depardieu, and Valérie Trierweiler. Former president Jacques Chirac had a pacemaker fitted at the Salpêtrière in 2008. Celebrities have also died at the Pitié-Salpêtrière, including the singer Josephine Baker in 1975, following a cerebral haemorrhage; philosopher Michel Foucault (from complications of AIDS) on 25 June 1984; Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997; and French bicycle racer Laurent Fignon in 2010 (from the metastatic spread of lung cancer).