Jean Alfred Fournier

Alfred Jean Fournier (1832-1914)

JeanAlfred Fournier (1832-1914) was a French dermatologist.

Fournier was the first French syphilologist; the first professor of cutaneous and syphilitic diseases at the Paris Faculty of Medicine; and a most prominent European dermatovereologist

He specialised in congenital syphillis, stressing the importance of syphilis as a cause of degenerative diseases and parasyphilitic conditions

Keen Medical historian Fournier translated and re-published works on ‘Le Mal francais‘ (The French Evil  – Syphillis) by authors including Girolamo Fracastoro (1478–1553); Jean de Vigo (1460–1525)

  • Born on May 12, 1832 at Paris
  • 1857 – Intern, Hôpital du Midi under Philippe Ricord (1800–1889) [co-authoring Lectures on chancre]
  • 1863 – Médecine des hôpitaux, Hôpital du Midi
  • 1867 – Hôtel-Dieu de Paris
  • 1876 – Chef de service at the Hôpital Saint-Louis
  • 1880 – Member of the Académie de Médecine
  • Died on December 25, 1914

Medical Eponyms
Fournier gangrene (1883)

Gangrene foudroyante de la verge (“lightning gangrene of the penis”) was first described by Fournier as an acute onset of idiopathic, fulminating gangrene of the genitalia in young, otherwise healthy males.

Although initially thought to be idiopathic, in the intervening years, multiple origins of infection have been identified, including, but not limited to: trauma to the perineal area/scrotum and extension from a urinary tract or perianal infection. Howevere, unfortunately there remains a significant number of unexplained cases.

A number of key co-morbidities have also been identified since Fournier’s time, which contribute to the likelihood of the disease occurring. Diabetes mellitus is by far the most common (20-70% cases), followed by chronic alcoholism, malignancy and other immunosuppressed states.

What begins as a localised cellulitis related to the site of entry of the culprit bacteria (polymicrobial, often including Klebsiella, Proteus, Streptococcus and Escherichia Coli), Fournier’s gangrene rapidly progresses to become a deep necrotising fasciitis.

Other eopnyms
  • Fournier sign (1891) – scars on the mouth following the healing of lesions in congenital syphilis.
  • Fournier tibia (1891) Fusiform thickening and anterior bowing of the tibia in congenital syphilis.
  • Reactive arthritis (1868)

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


the person behind the name

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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