Jules Cotard’s Delusion

Neuro_Nerds.jpgJules Cotard (June 1, 1840 – August 19, 1889) was a French neurologist who is best known for first describing the Cotard delusion, the delusional belief that you are dead, do not exist or do not have bodily organs.

He studied medicine in Paris and later went on to work as an intern at Hospice de la Salpetriere, where he worked for, among others, Jean-Martin Charcot. He became particularly interested in cerebrovascular accidents (commonly known as “strokes”) and their consequences and undertook autopsies to better understand how these affected the brain.

In 1869 Cotard left Salpetriere at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War and joined an infantry regiment as a regimental surgeon.

Cotard moved to the town of Vanves in 1874 where he remained for the last 15 years of his life. He made particular contributions to the understanding of diabetes and delusions.

In August 1889, Cotard’s daughter contracted diphtheria and he reportedly refused to leave her bedside for 15 days until she recovered. He eventually contracted the illness himself and died on August 19.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

Tony Brown, BA, EMT

Tony Brown, BA, EMT, graduated cum laude from Harvard University. He served as an EMT in the US Army stationed in Germany.
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