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Quotations on Medical Subjects


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In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men. ~Cicero


My doctor is nice; every time I see him, I'm ashamed of what I think of doctors in general. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt. ~Seneca


The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated. ~Plato


Body and soul cannot be separated for purposes of treatment, for they are one and indivisible. Sick minds must be healed as well as sick bodies. ~C. Jeff Miller


In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science. ~Martin H. Fischer


One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.... Soap and water and common sense are the best disinfectants. ~William Osler


It is a mathematical fact that fifty percent of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class. ~Author Unknown


Restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee. ~Robert Burton


I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for. ~James H. Boren


A hospital should also have a recovery room adjoining the cashier's office. ~Francis O'Walsh


I learned a long time ago that minor surgery is when they do the operation on someone else, not you. ~Bill Walton


I wondher why ye can always read a doctor's bill an' ye niver can read his purscription. ~Finley Peter Dunne


You have a cough? Go home tonight, eat a whole box of Ex-Lax — tomorrow you'll be afraid to cough. ~Pearl Williams


To array a man's will against his sickness is the supreme art of medicine. ~Henry Ward Beecher


A doctor whose breath smells has no right to medical opinion.  ~Martin H. Fischer


Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit — Life!
~Emily Dickinson


It is a good thing for a physician to have prematurely grey hair and itching piles. The first makes him appear to know more than he does, and the second gives him an expression of concern which the patient interprets as being on his behalf. ~A. Benson Cannon


A doctor who cannot take a good history and a patient who cannot give one are in danger of giving and receiving bad treatment. ~Author Unknown


A hypochondriac is one who has a pill for everything except what ails him. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966


The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease. ~Voltaire


A doctor must work eighteen hours a day and seven days a week. If you cannot console yourself to this, get out of the profession. ~Martin H. Fischer


It is sometimes as dangerous to be run into by a microbe as by a trolley car. ~J.J. Walsh


Every disease is a physician. ~Irish Proverb


God heales, and the Physitian hath the thankes. ~George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs


Drugs are not always necessary. Belief in recovery always is. ~Norman Cousins


I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind and all the worse for the fishes. ~Oliver Wendell Holmes


There is no curing a sick man who believes himself to be in health. ~Henri Amiel


Doctors think a lot of patients are cured who have simply quit in disgust. ~Don Herold


The only equipment lack in the modern hospital? Somebody to meet you at the entrance with a handshake! ~Martin H. Fischer


The worst thing about medicine is that one kind makes another necessary. ~Elbert Hubbard


When you are called to a sick man, be sure you know what the matter is — if you do not know, nature can do a great deal better than you can guess. ~Nicholas de Belleville


Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it. ~William Shakespeare


I recently became a Christian Scientist. It was the only health plan I could afford. ~Betsy Salkind


 
 
Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents. ~Peter Mere Latham


In the nineteenth century men lost their fear of God and acquired a fear of microbes. ~Author Unknown


Symptoms, then are in reality nothing but the cry from suffering organs. ~Jean-Martin Charcot, translated from French


It is a most extraordinary thing, but I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the partciular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form. The diagnosis seems in every case to correspond exactly with all the sensations that I have ever felt. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889


Diagnosis is not the end, but the beginning of practice.  ~Martin H. Fischer


The physician should look upon the patient as a besieged city and try to rescue him with every means that art and science place at his command. ~Alexander of Tralles


Physicians and politicians resemble one another in this respect, that some defend the constitution and others destroy it. ~Author Unknown


A smart mother makes often a better diagnosis than a poor doctor.  ~August Bier


When fate arrives the physician becomes a fool. ~Arabic Proverb


Medicines are not meat to live by. ~German Proverb


Treat the patient, not the Xray. ~James M. Hunter


God and the Doctor we alike adore
But only when in danger, not before;
The danger o'er, both are alike requited,
God is forgotten, and the Doctor slighted.
~Robert Owen


Financial ruin from medical bills is almost exclusively an American disease. ~Roul Turley


A man who cannot work without his hypodermic needle is a poor doctor. The amount of narcotic you use is inversely proportional to your skill. ~Martin H. Fischer


Better to hunt in fields, for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught,
The wise, for cure, on exercise depend;
God never made his work for man to mend.
~John Dryden


Medicine is the only profession that labours incessantly to destroy the reason for its own existence. ~James Bryce, 1914


It is not a case we are treating; it is a living, palpitating, alas, too often suffering fellow creature. ~John Brown


The patient does not care about your science; what he wants to know is, can you cure him? ~Martin H. Fischer


Medicines heal doubts as well as diseases. ~Karl Marx


A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man — he must view the man in his world. ~Harvey Cushing


Bedside manners are no substitute for the right diagnosis. ~Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.


Medicine sometimes snatches away health, sometimes gives it. ~Ovid


As it takes two to make a quarrel, so it takes two to make a disease, the microbe and its host. ~Charles V. Chapin


Disease is war with the laws of our being, and all war, as a great general has said, is hell. ~Lewis G. Janes


No man is a good doctor who has never been sick himself. ~Chinese Proverb


Only one rule in medical ethics need concern you — that action on your part which best conserves the interests of your patient. ~Martin H. Fischer


To me the ideal doctor would be a man endowed with profound knowledge of life and of the soul, intuitively divining any suffering or disorder of whatever kind, and restoring peace by his mere presence. ~Henri Amiel


When you no longer know what headache, heartache, or stomachache means without cistern punctures, electrocardiograms and six x-ray plates, you are slipping. ~Martin H. Fischer


It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions but hard to get one single remedy. ~Chinese Proverb


Never forget that it is not a pneumonia, but a pneumonic man who is your patient. ~William Withey Gull


It is said to be the manner of hypochondriacs to change often their physician. ~William Cullen, Practice of Physic


The road to medical knowledge is through the pathological museum and not through an apothecary's shop. ~William Withey Gull


A Short History of Medicine
2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."
~Author Unknown


When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it cannot be cured. ~Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard


What a doctor wants... is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889 — speaking of his hypochondria


I read the prescription. It ran:
      "1 lb. beefsteak, with
      1 pt. bitter beer
            every 6 hours.
      1 ten-mile walk every morning.
      1 bed at 11 sharp every night.
And don't stuff up your head with things you don't understand."
I followed the directions, with the happy result... that my life was preserved, and is still going on. ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog), 1889 — hypochondriac's prescription


Asthma is a disease that has practically the same symptoms as passion except that with asthma it lasts longer. ~Author Unknown


A half doctor near is better than a whole one far away. ~German Proverb


No doctor is better than three. ~German Proverb


I will lift mine eyes unto the pills. Almost everyone takes them, from the humble aspirin to the multi-coloured, king-sized three deckers, which put you to sleep, wake you up, stimulate and soothe you all in one. It is an age of pills. ~Malcolm Muggeridge, 1962


Man may be the captain of his fate, but is also the victim of his blood sugar. ~Wilfrid G. Oakley


Faith and knowledge lean largely upon each other in the practice of medicine. ~Peter Mere Latham (1789–1875)


Each patient ought to feel somewhat the better after the physician's visit, irrespective of the nature of the illness. ~Warfield Theobald Longcope


Who ever thought up the word "Mammogram?" Every time I hear it, I think I'm supposed to put my breast in an envelope and send it to someone. ~Jan King


Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died. ~Erma Bombeck


You may know the intractability of a disease by its long list of remedies. ~Alonzo Clark


Here's good advice for practice: go into partnership with nature; she does more than half the work and asks none of the fee. ~Martin H. Fischer


Varicose veins are the result of an improper selection of grandparents. ~William Osler


I am thankful that the good God creates us all ignorant. I am glad that when we change His plans in this regard, we have to do it at our own risk. It is a gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art, and ignorant also of surgery. Because people who understand art find nothing in pictures but blemishes, and surgeons and anatomists see no beautiful women in all their lives, but only a ghastly stack of bones with Latin names to them, and a network of nerves and muscles and tissues inflamed by disease. The very point in a picture that fascinates me with its beauty, is to the cultured artist a monstrous crime against the laws of coloring; and the very flush that charms me in a lovely face, is, to the critical surgeon, nothing but a sign hung out to advertise a decaying lung. Accursed be all such knowledge. I want none of it. ~Mark Twain, 1867


If you are too smart to pay the doctor, you had better be too smart to get ill. ~African Proverb


When you treat a disease, first treat the mind. ~Chen Jen


Symptoms are the body's mother tongue; signs are in a foreign language. ~John Brown


The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease. ~Thomas Edison


So many come to the sickroom thinking of themselves as men of science fighting disease and not as healers with a little knowledge helping nature to get a sick man well. ~Auckland Geddes, The Practitioner


Where a man feels pain he lays his hand. ~Dutch Proverb


The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease. ~French Proverb


Despite all our toil and progress, the art of medicine still falls somewhere between trout casting and spook writing. ~Ben Hecht, Miracle of the Fifteen Murderers


The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them. ~Ecclesiasticus 38:4


The medicalization of early diagnosis not only hampers and discourages preventative health-care but it also trains the patient-to-be to function in the meantime as an acolyte to his doctor. He learns to depend on the physician in sickness and in health. He turns into a life-long patient. ~Ivan Illich


He's the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines. ~Benjamin Franklin


Physiology is the stepchild of medicine. That is why Cinderella often turns out the queen. ~Martin H. Fischer


The field of Western medicine has seemingly become literally nothing but medicine. Are doctors are on their way out, to be replaced by self-service pharmaceutical vending machines? ~Grey Livingston


The fact that your patient gets well does not prove that your diagnosis was correct. ~Samuel J. Meltzer


Man is a creature composed of countless millions of cells: a microbe is composed of only one, yet throughout the ages the two have been in ceaseless conflict. ~A.B. Christie


On J-Day our profession will have a lot to answer for! We might at least have withheld our hands instead of making them work against God. ~Martin H. Fischer


The doctor may also learn more about the illness from the way the patient tells the story than from the story itself. ~James B. Herrick


Men are not going to embrace eugenics. They are going to embrace the first likely, trim-figured girl with limpid eyes and flashing teeth who comes along, in spite of the fact that her germ plasm is probably reeking with hypertension, cancer, haemophilia, colour blindness, hay fever, epilepsy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ~Logan Clendening


'Tis not always in a physician's power to cure the sick; at times the disease is stronger than trained art. ~Ovid


150 people die every year from being hit by falling coconuts. Not to worry, drug makers are developing a vaccine. ~Jim Carrey, Nov 20th 2009


And lo, the Hospital, gray, quiet, old,
Where life and death like friendly chafferers meet.
~William Ernest Henley, "I: Enter Patient," In Hospital


Behold me waiting—waiting for the knife....
The thick, sweet mystery of chloroform,
The drunken dark, the little death-in-life....
[F]ace to face with chance, I shrink a little:
My hopes are strong, my will is something weak.
...I am ready
But, gentlemen my porters, life is brittle:
You carry Cæsar and his fortunes—steady!
~William Ernest Henley, "IV: Before," In Hospital


[T]hey stretch you on a table.
Then they bid you close your eyelids,
And they mask you with a napkin,
And the anæsthetic reaches
Hot and subtle through your being.
~William Ernest Henley, "V: Operation," In Hospital


A sweating ovary or a sick prostate explains most history. ~Martin H. Fischer


The only weapon with which the unconscious patient can immediately retaliate upon the incompetent surgeon is hemorrhage. ~William Stewart Halsted


The public blabbers about preventative medicine, but will neither appreciate nor pay for it. You get paid for what you cure. ~Martin H. Fischer


To save a man's life against his will is the same as killing him. ~Horace


Nowadays the clinical history too often weighs more than the man. ~Martin H. Fischer


Hypochondriacs squander large sums of time in search of nostrums by which they vainly hope they may get more time to squander. ~Mortimer Collins


One doctor makes work for another. ~English Proverb


Let the young know they will never find a more interesting, more instructive book than the patient himself. ~Giorgio Baglivi


Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic. ~Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin, 1973



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Last modified 2014 Feb 28 Fri 21:17 PST


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