Early during his residency in Professor Pierre Royer’s unit at the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in the early 1960’s, Michel Broyer was fascinated by the recent developments in pediatric nephrology. His unique aim became to offer children with kidney disease the best possible diagnostic approach and treatment. He was the first in Europe in 1969 to develop and adapt dialysis techniques, in particular hemodialysis, to children. It was a heroic period when the vascular access was by an external arteriovenous shunt and the sessions lasted more than 8 hours. In 1973 he took in charge pediatric kidney transplantation. Despite a difficult start, his efforts made it possible for these children not only to survive but to return to an almost normal life. Since then, more than 1300 kidney transplants have been performed in this centre. He succeeded Pierre Royer as head of Pediatric Nephrology department in Necker Enfants Malades Hospital from 1978 to 1999.
Michel Broyer’s contributions have not been limited to the treatment of chronic kidney disease. He has studied all areas of this specialty, as evidenced by his list of more than 400 publications. Himself and Renée Habib, both internationally recognized for their work, described a number of new entities in childhood kidney disease. With Pierre Royer and Renée Habib, he has made the Necker-Enfants Malades hospital a major clinical and academic center of pediatric nephrology, internationally recognized.
In 1975, Michel Broyer and Renée Habib organized highly successful annual Pediatric Nephrology seminars that continue nowadays, attracting pediatricians and nephrologists from man parts of the world. Michel Broyer also initiated the French “Pediatric Nephrology Club”. He defined its role as follows: “The annual meeting of the Club has been and remains for the youngest members an opportunity to learn how to communicate, a preliminary and logical step towards participating in international meetings. The small size of the Club has also helped to maintain the feeling that members belong to the same family where everyone knows each other and is likely to help each other. Thanks to the Club, cooperative studies have been carried out. Over time, the scientific quality of the meetings continues to improve, while their tone remains very convivial. ” In 2000, the Club was renamed the Société de Néphrologie Pédiatrique.
The conviviality between pediatric nephrologists continues with another generous idea of Michel Broyer who initiated in the early 2000’s a yearly three-day cultural meeting of the French speaking pediatric nephrologists retired their professional activities. These meetings are since organized every year in a different town by the local pediatric nephrologist. Himself organized this meeting in 2015 in Lorient, close to his house in Britany. He also co-organized the last 2019 meeting in Paris with his Parisian colleagues. These meetings illustrate his fidelity in friendship, for the benefit and pleasure of all.
Michel Broyer trained many pediatric nephrologists from France and abroad. Many became leaders in their countries. All of them admired his medical knowledge, his scientific rigour and his generosity for the children, their families and colleagues.
Michel Broyer had a major role in the development of the registry of the European Dialysis Transplantation Association and in the association “France Transplant”. He was editor of the journal “Pediatric Nephrology”. For several years, he chaired the Ethics Committee of the Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital.
Michel Broyer was in the noble sense of the terms “un honnête homme” and “un homme de bien”.
Patrick Niaudet, Marie-Claire Gubler, Marie-France Gagnadoux, Chantal Loirat and Rémi Salomon