Place du Docteur Lobligeois
Place du Docteur Lobligeois
Our recent vacation in Paris found us ensconced in a B&B in the 17th arrondissement, an easy Metro ride from the sites of the city. We explored our picturesque neighborhood in Batignolles, encountering numerous young families strolling the streets, enjoying a large park and duck pond, browsing shops and patisseries, and deciding which of the tempting casual French restaurants we would enjoy. We found ourselves in the main square, and entered the church which dominates the square, Eglise Sainte Marie des Batignolles, and heard a serendipitous organ recital.
When we continued our neighborhood tour, we looked up and found, to our surprise, that the square is named for a physician: Place du Docteur Lobligeois, Radiologue.
Well, it's not every day one encounters such a testament to a radiologist, so some research was in order.
Docteur Félix Lobligeois (1874-1942) was a radiologist, physicist and pioneer radium researcher in the early part of the 20th century.
His thesis in 1902 addressed "Clinical and diagnostic study of scarlatinaform rashes and true scarlatina appearing during the course of diphtheria:
the diagnostic value of examination of the blood and the diazoreaction of Ehrlich" (1). By 1902 Dr Lobligeois had already received a Médaille
de bronze de l'Assistance Publique and Médaille d'honneur (en argent) des épidémies.
In 1908, after a competitive examination, he was appointed as head of the radiology department of the Hôpital Bretonneau in the
17th arrondissement. During the First World War, Dr Lobligeois published papers on the use of portable X-ray equipment in the operating room
for extraction of foreign bodies, showing that total darkness was not necessary for adequate imaging and guidance of the surgeon (2). Lobligeois'
contribution to the literature of localization and extraction of cardiac foreign bodies included this 1916 detailed description of a bullet in the left ventricle:
At the end of diastole, the ball rested on the inferior border of the heart, near the apex; when systole intervened, it
veered rapidly from left to right (of the patient) along the lower border, evidently struck against the interventricular
partition and followed that from below upward in vertical direction. It thus arrived at the most elevated point of the
ventricle, but against the right side of the ventricle. That was the end of the systole. It remained there an instant
immobile, then redescended slowly, from above downward and from right to left, during diastole to resume, after
that, the position near the apex of the heart and begin again a new evolution. It described, then, a right angle triangle
in which the right angle might have been a little rounded; during the systole it ran rapidly over the two adjacent sides
of the right angle and descended slowly during the diastole along the hypotenuse (3).
Dr. Lobligeois also became active in the social-political arena, elected as a vice-chairman of the Municipal Council of Paris.
For his contributions to science he was awarded the Croix d'Officier de la Légion d'Honneur and the Médaille de Fondation Bergonié.
Tragically, his pioneering efforts in radium research and radiology resulted in profound morbidity: he eventually lost both arms to radiation effects, undergoing multiple operations in 1925-26 (4,5).
Dr Lobligeois died in 1942, but his name lives on in Batignolles.
2. Archives of radiology and electrotherapy. Volume XXL,
June 1916-May 1917
3. Vaquez H, Bordet E. The Heart and Aorta: Studies in Clinical Radiology. 2nd edition. 1918 (English translation), Yale University Press, 1920.
4. JAMA. 1926;86:1702-1706.
5. The Treatment of Roentgenologists' Cancer. JAMA;1927;88:112.