Tag Archives: William Osler

Thomas Sydenham, “The English Hippocrates”

JMS Pearce East Yorks, UK   Fig 1. Thomas Sydenham. Abraham Blooteling after Mary Beale – portrait of Thomas Sydenham 8-B-47-Med Source Still Fever burns, and all her skill defies Till Sydenham’s wisdom plays a double part, Quells the disease and helps the failing Art. -from a poem on plague by John Locke, 1668   […]

What did Dorothy Reed See?

Sara Nassar Cairo, Egypt   Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall (Photograph by A. Pearsall, courtesy of Alan Mason Chesney Archives of John Hopkins Medical School). “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.”1 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet.   Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall opened the doors of medicine at […]

Defining medicine

Amira Athanasios Walnut Creek, California, USA   Image by Amira Athanasios Defining Medicine. The bolded script screamed at me from a massive poster hung six stories high along the side of the university hospital on my first day of medical school. Like most millennials, I pursued medicine with a deep conviction to make a difference. […]

Life is short and Art is long: reflections on the first Hippocratic aphorism

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   The ruins of the Asclepeion in the Greek island of Kos, the birthplace of Hippocrates. Photo courtesy of author. Some five centuries before Christ, the ancient father of medicine Hippocrates used to instruct his students that “Life is short and Art is long; opportunity fleeting, experiment treacherous, judgment difficult.” (Ο […]

Alice Hamilton: physician and scientist of the dangerous trades

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Alice Hamilton in 1919 It is a gritty, frozen day in winter-weary Chicago, one that does little to inspire action; perhaps least of all a frigid walk around the salty, potholed neighborhood. In a month or two a lunchtime walk would be a welcome idea; university students […]

An emperor unclothed: the virtuous Osler

Patrick Fiddes Paul A. Komesaroff Melbourne, Australia   William Osler at Oxford. Apart from Hippocrates himself, William Osler was among the most praised physicians of all time. Like his Greek forerunner, Osler amassed a huge following of loyal supporters, for whom he could evidently do no wrong. One went so far as to suggest that […]

Walt Whitman: a difficult patient

Jack Coulehan Stony Brook, New York, United States   On June 15, 1888, the following notice appeared in  the New York Times under the headline AGED POET SUFFERS RELAPSE: “Prof. William Osler, of the University of Pennsylvania, was summoned by telegraph this afternoon to go to Walt Whitman’s bedside. The aged poet had a relapse, […]

Aequanimitas and apathy

Lee W. Eschenroeder Charlottesville, Virginia   Sir William Osler On May 1, 1889, Sir William Osler, one of the greatest clinicians and educators of all time, stood before students at the University of Pennsylvania and delivered the valedictory address “Aequanimitas.” Since that day equanimity, or “imperturbability” as Osler also named it, has become one of […]

On Longcope Rounds

Kevin R. Fontaine Birmingham, Alabama, United States   The Four Doctors, 1905 John Singer Sargent Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Dr. Hunter Champion keys the code in and enters the Longcope Office holding two plastic bags and a cardboard box with Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. Senior resident Parker Ruhl, interns Ben McEnroy and Susan Quan, […]

Medicine, a noble profession

Sir David Todd Hong Kong, SAR, China You have worked hard and are now duly rewarded; but this is just the beginning of your new life and that is perhaps why in North America graduation is known as commencement. Times have changed since nearly sixty years ago I sat where you are nervously waiting today. […]