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Joint Bone Spine
Volume 70, n° 6
page 543 (décembre 2003)
Doi : 10.1016/j.jbspin.2003.08.005
Received : 30 July 2003 ;  accepted : 29 August 2003
In memoriam

In memoriam: Eric Bywaters

Marcel-Francis  Kahn
18, rue Juliette-Lamber, Paris 75017, France 

When Eric G.L. BYWATERS died in April of this year, we lost one of the last surviving founders of modern rheumatology. He was born in 1910. During the years leading up to World War II he developed a special interest in rheumatology, going to Harvard University to study systemic lupus erythematosus with Walter Bauer. The war forced him away from his favorite pursuits, and he devoted his energies to the victims of the blitz in London. He conducted a systematic study of the manifestations and complications seen in patients trapped under collapsed buildings, and his description of the “crush syndrome” in the British Medical Journal earned him international renown. Many French physicians who went to medical school between 1946 and 1970 would be surprised to learn that “Bywaters syndrome” was individualized by a rheumatologist, not a nephrologist. At the end of the war, Eric Bywaters was put at the head of a research and management center for juvenile arthritis, in Taplow. His personal reputation attracted numerous students and visitors. Many of his studies remain relevant today and continue to be cited. They deal with the pathology of the main inflammatory joint diseases and the management of juvenile arthritis. He rescued Jaccoud's work from oblivion, giving Jaccoud credit for describing a distinctive pattern of arthropathy of the hand while adding detail to the clinical description and showing that, by now, lupus, rather than rheumatic fever, was the most common cause. A lover of books, he added his personal collection to that of the British Society for Rheumatology in order to create the Heberden Library, which is clearly the most exhaustive source of information on the history of rheumatology. Eric Bywaters gave his friendship to a number of French rheumatologists, including the author of these lines, for whom the present tribute is both a duty and an honor.


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