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Dr. Jaddou's soon to be published text on Family

This edition of Pearls on Sir William Osler, MD (1849 – 1919), is dedicated to the UCF Medical School faculty. Sir William Osler is widely regarded as the Father of Modern Medicine. In 1889 he revolutionized medical education as the first chief of staff of the newly created Johns Hopkins Medical School when he insisted that medical students learn from taking care of patients in the ward (rather than through just reading books). He established the first medical residency program.

His best known book,“The Principles and Practice of Medicine”, was the standard medical reference for years. Osler’s many quotes give insight to his persona. See if you can identify the quote below that is NOT from Sir William (extra credit if you know the author): A. The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head. B. Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability. C. Listen to the patient, he is telling you the diagnosis. D. Beware of the men that call you “Doc.” They rarely pay their bills. E. A physician who treats himself has a fool for a patient. F. God heals, and the Doctor takes the Fees. G. One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicines. H. The chief function of the consultant is to make a rectal exam that you have omitted.

Here are some additional great Osler quotes (taken from “The Quotable Osler”, edited by Mark Silverman, MD, T. Jock Murray, MD, and Charles Bryan, MD; American College of Physicians, 2008):

  • The four points of a medical student’s compass are: Inspection, Palpation, Percussion, and Auscultation.
  • Care more particularly for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease.
  • The kindly word, the cheerful greeting, the sympathetic look, trivial they may seem, help to brighten the paths of the poor sufferers and are often as “oil and wine” to the bruised spirits entrusted to our care.
  • Once gain the confidence of a patient and inspire him with hope, and the battle is half won.
  • Every patient you see is a lesson in much more than the malady from which he suffers.
  • Common-sense nerve fibers are seldom medullated before forty — they are never seen even with a microscope before twenty.
  • Common sense in matters medical is rare, and is usually in inverse ratio to the degree of education.
  • Advice is sought to confirm a position already taken.
  • If you cannot say anything good about a man, say nothing.
  • Look wise, say nothing and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought.
  • Believe nothing that you see in the newspapers — they have done more to create dissatisfaction than all other agencies. If you see anything in them that you know is true, begin to doubt it at once.
  • The physician needs a clear head and a kind heart; his work is arduous and complex, requiring the exercise of the very highest faculties of the mind, while constantly appealing to the emotions and finer feelings.
  • Physicians are not here to get all we can out of life for ourselves, but to try to make the lives of others happier.
  • The clinician who keeps one eye on his watch while in the wards is rarely successful.
  • The average physician wastes fifty to sixty percent of his time in going from place to place or in the repetition of uninstructive details of practice.
  • The medical profession is one in which every man can make a success,…if he will work hard, study hard, and take an interest in his patients.
  • See and then reason and compare and control. But see first. No two eyes see the same thing. No two mirrors give forth the same reflection.
  • It is astonishing with how little reading a doctor can practice medicine, but it is not astonishing how badly he may do it.
  • With half an hour’s reading in bed every night as a steady practice, the busiest man can get a fair education…
  • Pericarditis is diagnosed in proportion to the care of the examination.
  • Varicose veins are the result of an improper selection of grandparents.
  • Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants.
  • A patient with a written list of symptoms — neurasthenia.
  • The glutton digs his own grave with his teeth.
  • A man who drinks before breakfast as a rule is a heavy drinker. This is not true south of Mason and Dixon’s line. There a man may take his only drink before breakfast.
  • Man has an inborn craving for medicine…the desire to take medicine is the one feature which distinguishes man, the animal, from his fellow creatures.
  • Remember how much you do not know. Do not pour strange medicines into your patients.
  • The young physician starts life with twenty drugs for each disease, and the old physician ends life with one drug for twenty diseases.
  • If too many drugs are used for a disease, all are insufficient.
  • A cheerful man at the breakfast table is a great annoyance to his grouchy neighbor.
  • Women can fool men always, women only sometimes.
  • Taking a lady’s hand gives her confidence in her physician.
  • Faith in the gods or in the saints curse one, faith in little pills another, hypnotic suggestion a third, faith in a plain common doctor a fourth.
  • The hardest conviction to get in the mind of a beginner is that the education upon which he is engaged is not a college course, not a medical course, but a life course