De Beaulieu, Jacques

Jacques de Beaulieu (1651-1714)

The French itinerant lithotomist Jacques de Beaulieu who called himself Frère Jacques gained special popularity among his patients. Although not accepted by the surgeons at the Hôtel de Dieu, he was able to impress King Louis XIV who gave him a licence to practise. Frère Jacques came close to developing the lateral approach, a technique which was taken up by the Dutchman Johan J. Rau and later modified by William Cheselden. After a short period of success, Frère Jacques encountered failures mainly due to his ignorance of anatomy and negligence in post-operative care: “I have extracted the stone, God will cure him”.

Frère Jacque’s failures were due to his initial ignorance of anatomy  which he soon realized and by diligent study corrected. After he had left France he performed his operations with considerable success throughout Europe. As the results of his operations improved, more surgeons adopted his method.

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