Founder of the ears, nose and throat
Jean Itard was a French physician who was born on the 24th April 1775. Itard was a trained tradesman, but got a position in a bank. During the French Revolution he had to leave this position in the bank and join the army. He presented himself as a physician and so was employed as an assistant physician in a military hospital.
Itard then remained a physician, even after the revolution was over. He held positions in various hospitals in Paris. In 1796 he was made “Chirugien aide-major” at Val de Grace Hospital in Paris and in 1799 he became a physician in the National Institution for Deaf Mutes. From this time on Itard researched the ear and its diseases. His research has made him famous all over Europe.
Itard both invented new instruments and techniques and improved on existing ones. Itard even designed hearing aids for those who were heard of hearing and invented the Eustachain Catheter (Itard’s Catheter).
In 1799 a young boy was found alone in the woods by three French sports men. They guessed that he was about eleven or twelve. He was filthy dirty, naked and covered in scares. He was brought to a nearby village, where the men left the young boy in the care of a widow. People around the village then began reporting that the young boy (nicknamed The Wild Boy of Aveeryon) had been seen five years previous. The boy escaped and walked the woods alone all winter until he was found again and placed in custodial care. A French politician heard about the boy and suggested that he be brought to Paris so he could be studied as an example of the human mind in its primitive state. However, the physicians who examined the boy said that he was not wild, but mentally deficient and had been abandoned by his parents.
Psychiatrist Philippe Pinel said that the young boy was “an incurable idiot” but Itard strongly disagreed with this. He believed that because the boy had survived alone in the woods for at least seven years,...