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The interviewer is Dr. W. Bruce Fye


FYE:                                         I am going to call you Claude throughout these interviews.  We will do away with formalities.  You were born in Paris?


LENFANT:     I believe that he was the president of something or other.  I think he went up through the system.   I do not know where or how he started.  This is pushing me a bit here, but I do remember that we traveled a lot in France when I was growing up.  I know we were in Lyons when the war occurred.  He was in the French Air Force during the war and after the war we ended up in Toulouse. We went from Toulouse to Nantes and from Nantes to Paris, where basically he stayed until he retired.

FYE:                           So                So as a young person, as a boy and adolescent, and as a young man, you were moving fairly constantly.


LENFANT:     Absolutely not.  My father was a pretty strict character.  He established rules and that was it.  But that was another time.  I mean, in those days in France and in Europe, as probably it was here in this country, the family structure was quite different from what it is now.

FYE:                           So                So when you were young you did not feel that your family was more strict with you than your friends’ families were, it was more or less a cultural thing?


LENFANT:     No.  When I was young I was much more kind of avant garde and revolutionary than my parents could accept.  So I had a fairly strained relationship with them and then one day I pretty much walked out on my family.  That was in 1947, or something like that.  It is a long time ago, you know.

FYE:                                           That is remarkable because, as we go forward into your career, we obviously will get into the point that somewhere someone served as a mentor, I assume, or someone helped you frame your . . .


LENFANT:     His name, I think, was Cordebar.  Do you know Suburban Hospital [in Bethesda, Maryland]?  It was that kind of hospital, a community hospital, and he encouraged and helped me, and so I went to school, and that is it.

FYE:                                           About how old were you when you were working in that hospital with this surgeon and at what point in your education were you?


LENFANT:     Then that was the end of high school.  That was the baccalaureate.

FYE:                           And                And that was at, now you have to forgive me, I never took French. I do speak a bit of German, the University of Rennes?


LENFANT:     And after that you have one year of premed, so I was off by one year.  After you have one year of premed, then you go into medical school.

FYE:                                         I will come back to that.  I am going to ask you a few more questions about what it was like growing up in France and what sorts of things you liked to do. For example, when you were a boy did you have hobbies?


LENFANT:     Yes.  I was spending all my time doing that, but that was before I went to medical school.  From the time I went into medical school, whenever I had [free] time that was to make money.  I never got a penny from my parents from the day I walked out.  They never gave me a penny so I had to earn money.  Then I got married very young and so it was difficult.  What can I say?

FYE:                                         Especially following the war, I would think that that would have been an extremely difficult time in France to find work and without, as you said earlier, the sort of social network of support that now exists in this country and I am sure in France.

LENFANT:     Of course, the blessing was that the university was free.  You did not pay a penny for university. You had to buy your books and things like that, but there was no tuition basically. When you passed the baccalaureate then you could go into university, and when you were admitted into university it was free, there was no tuition.  But, of course, you needed money for other things, to eat, sleep and whatever.

FYE:                           Certainly               Certainly.  So as a child you liked to hike, you enjoyed mountaineering, you read a lot.  Were there any other interests?  I mean that sounds like enough.

LENFANT:     No, not that I remember.

FYE:                           Who                Who were the individuals, if you recall any of them, perhaps even their names, but the people that were your teachers or mentors in some fashion when you were a young person, before you went to university? Were there any people that influenced you at that young stage? Or we can go on to when you were at Rennes, were there people there, or thinking again of the younger phase of your life, if you can remember any influences?

LENFANT:     No. These were very tumultuous years in Europe.  You have to keep that in mind. Until 1939 or 1940, when the war started, as I said, we were in Lyons.  I must admit my recollection of that is pretty vague.  I remember that we would all go skiing in the Alps and things of that sort.  But the next ten years, from 1938 to say1948, were very tumultuous years.  From Lyons, I suppose we ended up in Paris probably for a very short period of time, and, from there, we went north into Normandy with my mother, and things were more difficult.  I was in a boarding school there, too.  Then, when the German army began to move into France, the decision was made to go down to the south and that was a project that lasted almost a week.  Driving with hundreds of cars on the road and every so often planes would come and machine gun the cars, but these were rather interesting times and eventually we ended up in the town of Pau.  When we were in Pau, things were also very, very difficult.  I cannot really say anything about what the means of my mother were because I do not know.  Now that I think about it, it was not easy for her. Then, when we moved from Pau to Toulouse, from my mother to my father, things were not so difficult.  In fact, my father was pretty good in those days.  We would often go hiking in the Pyrenees.  But that did not last very long because then the Germans got down there, too.  So there was no longer any point in being down there, and he was transferred to Nantes.  Do you know where Nantes is? It is at the base of Brittany. You have Brittany sticking out and on the south part of Brittany it is just in the corner. So we were put in a boarding school there for a while. It was in Cholet. Then, now I remember, when my father was transferred from Nantes to Paris, the decision was made that I would finish my high school education up to the baccalaureate in the same boarding school there.  So I did not follow my parents to Paris. 

FYE:                                         It must have been a very unsettling time for a young person in France to have this war surrounding you and to have to move in response to that so many times.


LENFANT:     No, it is not painful.  I have to tell you I am the kind of person that does not dwell in the past.  The past does not really interest me too much.  I am much more of a looking ahead type of person.  So I would not say that I have blocked that out of my mind, but just that I do not view that as an important part of my life.  Talking with you forces me to try to remember all these things and put them in a correct sequence of events which I am not sure I can do.  Keep in mind that we are talking about almost half a century ago.

FYE:                           Yes               Yes.  I know our older daughter wanted me to write down some recollections of my early life and the like.  I had to sit down and do a chronology because I moved about every four years and try to figure out at what stage I was at one place or another.  It does require not only just sitting down and thinking but sometimes writing things.  We are not interested in that much detail.  It is again trying to get a picture in words, just a sense of what your life was like. You are giving us a marvelous sense of that, so I think what we are doing is perfect.


LENFANT:     The Americans.

FYE:                           The                The Allies were bombing the German encampments, but obviously the people that lived there were often in the way in terms of these things...


LENFANT:     Yes.  It was so interesting that as soon as people knew–I don’t know how they knew--that the planes were coming, people would jump off the car and go into the ditches.

FYE:                                           That is hard to imagine for someone who has never experienced anything like that and, of course, in the United States we have this incredible 200-year history of not confronting that on our soil.  So it is hard, certainly for me, to imagine what that must have been like.  We talked earlier very briefly about your Bachelor of Science degree in 1948 from the University of Rennes. How did you decide to go to Rennes?


LENFANT:     Okay.  Let me see how that works.  [Drawing]  Here is Paris.  Pau is somewhere here that would be.   I think that is where it is.  And then Toulouse is somewhere here.  Lyons, that I mentioned, is here.  That is Paris.  So, we went from Lyons to Paris, and then, in Normandy, we were here at a place that is called Avranches.  From there we went to Pau, back to Toulouse, and eventually to Nantes, which is here.  I was in this boarding school which is here [drawing] and that may be 50 or 60 miles.  Where I went to pass the examination is here.  And Rennes, which is the headquarters of this university district, is here.  So, if you want, I have this baccalaureate, this degree in science from Rennes, but I did not have to be there to pass it.

FYE:                          I                I understand.  It really is sort of an administrative university structure, but it is easy to conclude from looking at your CV that you were physically at a place but now as you remind me of and explain to me the structure of education in France, especially at that time.

LENFANT:     That is right. It is regional, you see.

FYE:                           That                That is very helpful.  I should have thought to bring a map, but you have done a wonderful job of showing me where some of the cities that I was unfamiliar with are.  But you, in fact, lived in many different parts of France as a young man.  Let me retrieve my questions [moved to make room for CL to draw map].  So, one of my questions will make no sense any longer because you were not studying at Rennes. You were studying in boarding schools.


I have never been there.

FYE:                           That is very interesting.                 That is very interesting.  In boarding school was there such a concept as having a major area of interest or was it a totally general education at that point?


LENFANT:     Yes, that school was pretty good in science. They had a pretty strong [program]. In fact, many of my classmates when into medicine. 

FYE:                           When                When you entered that boarding school did you already have an interest in science? You mentioned earlier that you liked biology.


LENFANT:     Haiti, yes.  And he wrote a lot about that.  It is coming back.  He was a very interesting man because he started by being a Navy officer and then he became a writer. A very, very provocative writer in those days. And Claudel, who was another one of my heroes in those days, was a much more strict type of guy who was bringing more religion into his thinking. If you want, in my own mind, it was the convergence of two very different approaches to life.

FYE:                           And                And you just happened to fall upon these two writers that had a lot of influence on you.

LENFANT:     Yes. 

FYE:                           Interesting               Interesting. So in your boarding school, what sorts of courses did you have in science?  Did you have laboratory work, or field trips? What was it like?


LENFANT:     Yes, absolutely.  And homework. In those days you had to do homework.  Nobody does homework now, but in those days you had to do homework.

FYE:                                         So, again, you did not have personal exposure to laboratory animals, frogs, dissection, or any of that.


LENFANT:     No, that came between the first and second steps of the baccalaureate. Then, of course, when I went into premed, I did lots of that.

FYE:                                         Well, you have got me right to where I wanted to be.  Could you tell me something about your premedical education, where that was?

LENFANT:     By then, you see, my parents had moved from Nantes back to Paris, and after I got my baccalaureate I went there. By then I had made a decision to be on my own.  But I went to the University of Paris. I think the reason why I went to the University of Paris is that . . . The only way I could have gone for that [locally] was to go to Rennes where there was a medical school, but I was not terribly interested in doing that, and I went to Paris. You know it is called the PCB.  I am trying to remember in my own mind what PCB stands for, and it is probably physics--yes, that is right-- physics, chemistry, and biology, and that is premed.  I do not know if it still exists, but in those days you could not go into medical school unless you had successfully passed the examination after one year of PCB.

FYE:                           I                I can remember that same experience here in the United States in college for me. In Baltimore, it was the same thing.  In fact we had 12 credits of physics at Johns Hopkins.  It had a big engineering program and graduate programs and yet they had only one physics course, 12 credits for the physics majors and for the poor struggling premeds who were, of course, more biologically focused.  So I understand what you are saying about the PCB and that you had to be successful in each of those areas in order to go on.  So, by that time you had already decided when you were in premed, [that] you were interested in going into medicine.

LENFANT:     Yes.  In going into medicine.

FYE:                           When                When you first thought about that, did you have any idea of what you would do in medicine?


LENFANT:     Yes, that was really something that I wanted to do. But then something happened, which was that I needed to make some money, and I found a job as a dishwasher in a laboratory, if you want, in a hospital which had just opened.  That was in 1951 or 1952, something like that.  I was already in medical school struggling.  So I found that job in that hospital which was a cardiovascular thoracic surgery [hospital].  That was all they were doing, just cardiovascular and thoracic surgery.  The hospital was called the Hôpital Marie-Lannelongue.  That is what you see on that book there that you brought.

FYE:                           Oh             Oh, yes. [Note: Fye had brought a copy of Lenfant’s 1956 dissertation that was published in Paris.]


LENFANT:     Yes, if you were not part of that, then it was very, very difficult.  So I focused on my experimental work where I was very successful at that time. It is interesting. Not too long ago I saw here in the U.S. this French surgeon by the name of Carpentier who was trained by Dubost, but Carpentier came into my laboratory often to learn to do open heart surgery in our laboratory at the Centre Marie Lannelongue.  Many of the big names of cardiac surgery in France actually spent some time in my laboratory.

FYE:                           It                It is fascinating.  It reminds me of an interesting experience when I was in medical school at Johns Hopkins.  We had the so-called dog laboratory as part of our surgical course and Vivian Thomas, Alfred Blalock’s African-American laboratory technician, was actually the instructor in that

LENFANT:     In all these years between 1952 and 1956, while I worked in this laboratory going up the ladder...  Because, by 1956, Nahas had returned to the Mayo Clinic and then he went off to Columbia.  He spent the next 20 years as Professor of Anesthesiology at Columbia University. But, anyway, during all these years all the big names of surgery in Europe were coming to our hospital and through that laboratory and it was very interesting.  Eventually, our greatest success was that the first cases of open heart surgery in Europe were done in that hospital and I participated in that.  I have a number of papers on open heart surgery, the first cases of interventricular septal defect in Europe and things of that sort.  I think I made a few contributions to our laboratory that were quite interesting actually.  But that was when I met Michael DeBakey for the first time; [it was] in 1953, I think.  He came [to the hospital] to show something that he had done.  He came to demonstrate how to do it.  I cannot remember exactly what it was, but he came, and I remember that very well. DeBakey and I became friends and ever since that time we have a very nice rapport.  Now that may not impress you but it is close to 45 years.

FYE:                                         I think that is very impressive.  To have that professional and social friendship for such a long time is unusual. We have the advertisements in the U.S. for the Energizer bunny for batteries and I think Michael DeBakey is sort of like the Energizer bunny. He just keeps going and going!

LENFANT:     I have tremendous respect for DeBakey.  He has his detractors, but I think he is a good guy.  So, these were very exciting years. Of course, Richard DeWall, whose name you see in there, also came to show us . . . You see the big deal in those days was to find a way to keep circulation going while you were opening the heart, and taking it off from the circulation.  So that led to all kind of various approaches which were to freeze the entire body, to freeze just the heart, to stop the heart with potassium injection–that is what the British were doing.  There was a fellow by the name of Melrose actually who was doing that--or to develop an extracorporeal oxygenator system.  DeWall, who was working with Walter [Walton] Lillehei at Minneapolis came to show us what he was doing, and I personally modified the system.  The big problem, of course, was that the oxygen was bubbling through the blood and that led to the formation of a number of blood clots and micro blood clots and things of that sort. The risk of that, of course, was to send some emboli somewhere, in the brain or wherever.

FYE:                           Well               Well, we are moving very quickly now.  I want to be sure I have not overlooked some things because again it is all fascinating.


FYE:               So even as a first-year medical student you did that?

LENFANT:     Yes.

FYE:                                         So for five years in France at that time you were involved with patients in the hospital.

LENFANT:     And in the afternoon, you had courses....beginning with the third or fourth year, I just do not remember.  I remember that the fifth year was fulltime clinical clerkship, but in the third and fourth year you do more clerkships and either at the end of the third year or fourth year you were allowed to go replace a practicing physician.  He was responsible [for you] but basically you were on your own because you were doing this replacement when the physician was on vacation or going on a trip or something.  [Lenfant receives a telephone call]  I did a lot of that because that was paying wonderfully.  We were making lots of money.  I mean you would go and do that for six months and you could live another six months not having to earn money.  So I did that a lot.  In a way, the impact of that was twofold.  First of all, it made me realize that if I was practicing in the countryside, [I would be] delivering babies like crazy.  I delivered as many as 200 babies and saw all kinds of people.  It is something that I have never forgotten.  I will always remember being in the countryside and a young woman or young girl coming in and pretty much tearing her clothes off and saying I am pregnant, can you give me an abortion?  You know in the French system you could not do that in those days.  I mean, I almost passed out or fell off my feet and, of course, I never touched that, but that was a very impressive thing.  Anyway, what happened with all that was it was very clear that, if I was spending time making that money, I could not spend time to get myself into a competitive position to become a cardiovascular surgeon on my own.  The second thing, which, as I look back, has probably been more important to me is that I really got involved with human drama, the people with their diseases, their family problems, and remember that was in the early 1950s, and things were very different from what we know now in living conditions.  That was in the countryside.  I would go and deliver babies at home.  I would sit at the bottom of the bed and it was a feather mattress or something like that and the woman would disappear among all these feathers!  You know those were fantastic times.  I have no regrets that I had done that, absolutely no regrets. It gave me a sense to have a better understanding of human beings.

FYE:                                         I think that must have been fascinating because that really is being a general practitioner and being this solo person.


LENFANT:     He was a cardiovascular surgeon.  I went to the Mayo Clinic, John Kirklin was there. And John Kirklin and I, we hit it right. There, too, I developed a friendship that I still have with him. I spent three or four days with him, and we really hit it right.  I went to Minneapolis where there was, of course, Lillehei and DeWall and other big names, I forgot who they were.  I went to Denver, where there was a fellow by the name of Henry Swan.  Hypothermia was his thing.  I went to Houston to see DeBakey, and I went to NIH to see Glen Morrow, and then I went back to France. When I went back, Dubost asked, “What did you learn?”  I said, “Well, you know something, they do research that we don’t do here.”   So we transformed the laboratory to make it much more, not [just to be] the testing ground that we probably were before, testing pump and filters and how to put the best cannula in dogs and those kind of things, but really to try to understand the biology of open heart surgery.  By then, you see, Cournand, whom I had met briefly during his first trip, became kind of interested in me and suggested to Dubost--if you want, Sauvage as well as Dubost--to send me back to the States for a longer period of time really to do research.  And then in that same hospital there was another laboratory of pulmonary function and pulmonary physiology.

FYE:                           This                This hospital is . . . because I do not know that we have actually said it, I will put it in the record.


FYE:               It is in that general direction?

LENFANT:     Yes.

FYE:                                         You said earlier it was a hospital that specialized in thoracic and cardiovascular surgery.

LENFANT:     It had been created by the Social Security.  It was not a university hospital, it was a Social Security hospital, but all the faculty were big shots from universities.  Dubost was the cardiovascular surgeon, Sauvage was the thoracic surgeon.  All the care was free in that hospital, and it had been created to take care of what were called in those days the blue babies, basically congenital heart defects.

FYE:                                         So it was created in response to the development of the very earliest heart surgery or extravascular surgery?


LENFANT:     Yes.  In fact, everybody in France was jealous of that facility because the Social Security was putting lots of money in it and also it was the only hospital where there were research laboratories for that kind of work, experimental surgery.  I think that hurt.

FYE:                           But               But, as you mentioned, it sounds as if it became even more research oriented and was not simply answering the practical questions.  It sounds like the focus initially was on practical things that they could use in the operating room, but then the transformation was toward a more basic research mission after you traveled to the United States and saw the programs in the cities you mentioned.

LENFANT:     That is right.FYE:                          

FYE:              Now, how old were you and what stage of your training were you at when you first visited the United States and visited those cities?


LENFANT:     So he said to me, “That’s where you have got to go.”  The deal was that I would go in Wallace Fenn’s Department–he was the head of physiology at the University of Rochester--which was probably the premiere department of physiology in this country. Wallace Fenn, in case you do not know, was the main advisor about adaptation to high altitude and hyperbarism, that is living in the submarine, during the war, and his whole department was really sponsored by the Navy and the Air Force. It was the premier department in those days.

FYE:                           It                It raises an interesting point if I could just interject a couple of thoughts. First of all, you were told to study with a person, you were not necessarily told to go to a specific institution, but, as you tell the story, it is obvious that the reason that his department was so successful, and perhaps to some extent at that point he was successful, is that he had government funding.  He had an unusual degree of funding, I am sure, because his research was viewed as critical to our defense structure at that point with the high altitude and the underwater physiology.

LENFANT:     Yes, absolutely.  I would be in his department, but, in fact, I worked specifically with a fellow by the name of Herman Rahn.  I went to Rochester and, shortly after that, Herman Rahn became the department chairman of physiology at what in those days was called the University of Buffalo, and so I moved to Buffalo.  And Herman Rahn was just as distinguished as Wallace Fenn.   Herman Rahn was a  member of the [National] Academy of Sciences, as was Wallace Fenn, and they were very distinguished people.  Herman Rahn’s main interest was in gas exchange in the lung and at the periphery.  I viewed that as being a kind of a compromise, if you want, in the things that I wanted, what brought me there, which was cardiovascular surgery and pulmonary, coronary circulations, and things of that sort.  I spent almost two years in Buffalo. That was really extraordinary.  From there I went to spend some time with André Cournand which was the worst time of my life.  Cournand was impossible.  He was impossible.

FYE:                           Was                Was it at that stage of his life or was he always impossible? I know he had just won the Nobel prize.

LENFANT:     I do not know.  I think he was always impossible, he really was.  He terrorized absolutely everybody. He could not say anything nice.  If it had not been for his secretary that he eventually married, this place would have been in . . . he would not have had any friends and students.  But there were people from all over the world going there.  It was the same thing actually with Herman Rahn.  There were  people from Korea, from Europe, from Asia, from Australia.  It was a booming place. And New York  was also another very interesting place. There were people from all over the world coming there and that gave you an opportunity to meet these people.  That is where I met Al [Albert] Fishman.  I do not know if you know him.  Fishman was up town, and Cournand was downtown.

FYE:                                         Cournand was at the Columbia branch of Bellevue, but Fishman was at the University. . .

LENFANT:     Where Dickinson Richards was, and I would go up there very often.  I also became fairly friendly with the Dickinson Richards, much more friendly than I was with Cournand.  Cournand was just impossible.

FYE:                           It                It is fascinating because you are both French, so you would have assumed that if anyone could relate to him it would be you but it did not work.


LENFANT:     Yes. That clearly did it.

FYE:                                         Is there a term in France that is like the term Victorian in England, because you are describing, I think, a Victorian kind of approach where parents are strong authority figures, the father especially, and you do not do things like that.


LENFANT:     Yes.  Okay.  My wife and I were here for several years, in Buffalo and New York. We went back to France where the children were for a short period of time, received that invitation from Seattle, and all of us moved back with the children to Seattle. And that was in 1960.

FYE:                           I                I want to go back and fill in just a few blanks about Dubost and a few other people because obviously he had a great influence on you. What was he like, and now I am going to ask you to think about him in all different ways, as a surgeon, an investigator, a person, a mentor, all that.


LENFANT:     Yes.  That was his hobby.  To cook.  

FYE:                           That                That is interesting.  How many professional men, especially in France, would cook in that period?

LENFANT:     He was an exquisite cook and a very remarkable fellow. But, anyway, his appearance was so dignified that we used to call him Caesar. You know in the Roman empire.  He had the appearance of a Roman emperor.  He was a very interesting guy.  But he was very good to me.  I said that he was very good to me because to succeed in those days you really had to be a competitor, and when you want to compete at that level often people do it in a way which is a little devious, not straightforward.  I was not doing that. I should have but I did not do it.  I think that was the reason why he liked me. And, in a way, I was working for him if you want--not quite, he never said that I was working for him-- but he really viewed me as being necessary for his success.  I think I was, actually, because of the work that we did.  For instance, we did the first cases of open heart surgery and then people from all over Europe were coming to see him.   We were part of the magnet, if you want, the whole unit was.

FYE:                                         He must have been very proud of what you accomplished in that laboratory.  I can sense, as you say, that people may have initially been attracted by his reputation but then your laboratory was such a vital part of that entire program, people could not help but . . .

LENFANT:     We were the only one in Europe, you see, and there is no question at that time that we were the only one in Europe.  Not long ago I saw a surgeon who in those days came to see us from Germany.  I think he was in Munich in those days, and eventually went to Berlin. He was  Emil Bucherl who was one of the pioneer cardiovascular surgeons in Europe.  And he was the epitome of what was happening there. He would come all the time to spend a few days to see what we were doing.  It was really an interesting time. You know that when you are in an environment which is fascinating and so exciting, you perhaps forget to do a number of things that you should do because you have the instant excitement of the place. As I look back, I probably should have paid more attention to me and done things which would have certainly served me professionally better. I do not know.  As I look back I have no regrets.  If I had to do it again, I would probably do exactly the same thing.

FYE:                           I                I was going to say that it is hard for me to envision a more successful career path. You might have envisioned it somehow being maybe more efficient in retrospect to go to where you are [now] but it is quite a remarkable career.

LENFANT:     Oh, I could be a big surgeon someplace and certainly making much more money than I am making.

FYE:                                         Right.  The other thing I want to be sure that I understand, and you may have touched upon this, I just may have forgotten it in our conversation, but how was it again that you got to this particular hospital working as a dishwasher or a laboratory assistant?

LENFANT:     One of my classmates that was in the P[hysics] C[hemistry] B[biology] knew Gabriel Nahas, and she is the one who basically put me in contact with him.

FYE:                           I                I wonder if you could just speculate a little on how your career might have been different had she never put you on to Nahas, and had you never gone to that hospital.

LENFANT:     I probably would be a neurologist someplace, perhaps a neurosurgeon. I do not know.  But I think that is what would have happened to me.

FYE:                                         Isn’t it fascinating though how that one obviously sort of chance discussion or chance opportunity completely redirected your professional and other aspects of your life.


LENFANT:     One thing that we did in those days nobody does today. This Hôpital Marie-Lannelongue is smack in the middle of the town where there were apartment buildings, and the dogs were housed in kennels on the roof.  Of course, they were waking up all the neighborhood. So what I was doing was to cut their vocal chords.  I was an expert in cutting the vocal cords.

FYE:                           It                It is interesting because at Hopkins they had the dog kennels on the roof too and I could hear the barking.  But it raises an interesting question because my earliest research into the history of physiology related to H. Newell Martin at Johns Hopkins and Bowditch at Harvard, and one of the things that created a tremendous aggravation for both of them was the antivivisection movement. What was that like in France? Was there any problem?

LENFANT:     Not yet.  Remember it was the late 1950s, mid 50s, or early 50s.

FYE:                                         They gave Claude Bernard a pretty hard time, but I guess in the generations that had passed it had quieted down.

LENFANT:     But also you see it was the blue babies . . .  I mean, this hospital was perceived as something very unique, something very special in France.

FYE:                                         I am sure it was.  I remember when I interviewed Richard Bing several years ago now, he told me when he went down to Baltimore from New York, Blalock had asked him if he would consider starting the first physiological laboratory which was primarily focused on diagnosis from Blalock’s point of view but Bing viewed it as an opportunity really to continue his physiological research. But Bing said as he took the ferry from Delaware to Maryland--of course, there was no bridge at that point--there were six blue babies or cyanotic kids on the ferry with him. You used the word magnet for your laboratory in Paris and obviously Johns Hopkins at that point, this would have been in 1946, was a magnet for blue babies from all around the world.  But you certainly were in a unique context there in Paris with Dubost, going there to earn some money to help pay, not your education per se, but all of your living expenses and all of the other things that you needed.  That was your entrée into this whole career that we are going to keep talking about for quite a long while.  It is fascinating, though.  Now beyond Dubost, you had mentioned Nahas in that hospital and you had mentioned Sauvage.

LENFANT:     And then also Dejours one time.

FYE:                                         Right, he was the other person you mentioned. So you had a number of mentors and people that obviously you were learning from and eventually they were learning from you.

LENFANT:     In many ways as I mentioned earlier, there was a group [around] Dubost, and Nahas.  Then, there was DeJours on the other side who thought these guys were not doing real research and Sauvage was the kind of grand figure sitting in the middle.  I was kind of between all these forces.  It was interesting and I always managed to find my way between all these fellows.

FYE:                                         I am sure that they had egos, they had their own interests and their own agendas, and you were in that mix, but substantially younger than all of them.