Archive

Quotes

The doctor occupies a seat in the front row of the stalls of the human drama, and is constantly watching and even intervening in the tragedies, comedies, and tragicomedies which form the raw material of the literary art.

—W. Russell Brain, 1952

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

—John Brown, 1904

Health indeed is a precious thing, to recover and preserve which we undergo any misery, drink bitter potions, freely give our goods—restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee.

—Robert Burton, 1621

Because the newer methods of treatment are good, it does not follow that the old ones were bad: for if our honorable and worshipful ancestors had not recovered from their ailments, you and I would not be here today.

—Confucius, c. 515 BC

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, c. 600

Let me recommend the best medicine in the world: a long journey, at a mild season, through a pleasant country, in easy stages.

—James Madison, 1794

In the name of Hippocrates doctors have invented the most exquisite form of torture ever known to man: survival.

—Luis Buñuel, 1983

The poets did well to conjoin music and medicine, because the office of medicine is but to tune the curious harp of man’s body.

—Francis Bacon, 1605

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

—Giorgio Baglivi, c. 1696

Physician, heal yourself: thus you help your patient too. Let his best help be to see with his own eyes the man who makes himself well.

—Friedrich Nietzsche, c. 1884

The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.

—Sigmund Freud, 1912

There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them.

—Sylvia Plath, 1963

Medication alone is not to be relied on. In one half the cases medicine is not needed, or is worse than useless. Obedience to spiritual and physical laws—hygiene of the body and hygiene of the spirit—is the surest warrant for health and happiness.

—Harriot K. Hunt, 1856