Didier Samuel, a hepatologist at the head of Inserm

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Didier Samuel, appointed head of the National Institute of Health.

In the next few days, Didier Samuel will be appointed head of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). The appointment of this hepatologist was approved, Thursday, January 26, by Parliament (30 votes for, 18 votes against). But deputies and senators were opposed: the first voted for, the second against, denouncing “a new act of the prince from the Elysée”, Emmanuel Macron having refused to renew Gilles Bloch, yet a candidate for a second term. In a tweet, the senator of Hauts-de-Seine Pierre Ouzoulias (Communist Party) made a point of specifying that “neither the person of Didier Samuel nor his skills are called into question” by this vote. His appointment should be confirmed at a future Council of Ministers.

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Aged 64, Didier Samuel already has a busy career: head of the hepatology and hepatic resuscitation department and medical director of the liver transplant center at the hepatobiliary center at the Paul-Brousse hospital of the Assistance Publique-Hôpitaux de Paris (AP-HP) in Villejuif (Val-de-Marne), director of a physiopathogenesis and treatment of liver disease research unit at Inserm, professor of hepatology and gastroenterology at the University of Paris- Saclay and at the Paul-Brousse hospital, president of the national research coordination committee supposed to coordinate hospital research. He is also Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and President of the Conference of Deans of Medicine.

As far back as he can remember, Didier Samuel has always wanted to be a hepatologist. “I would have been unhappy otherwise”, he said simply. And this passion for this specialty, he owes it to his two “masters” : Henri Bismuth, eminent figure in liver surgery and transplantation, and Jean-Pierre Benhamou, one of the greatest French hepatologists. Young intern, Didier Samuel chooses resuscitation in the surgery department of the first. Fifteen days after his arrival, Henri Bismuth performed the first transplant of a reduced adult liver in an 11-year-old boy, Martial Deschaseaux, in 1981. “I took care of it. At the time, the transplant did not work at all, no one dared to do it. Henri Bismuth did it. Martial Deschaseaux survived and, forty years later, I still do. » With the second, then head of the hepato-gastro-enterology department at Beaujon Hospital (AP-HP), he will learn to understand liver disease. “These two encounters made me who I am today, a doctor and a researcher. »

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