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

No families take so little medicine as those of doctors, except those of apothecaries.

—Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1860

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

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

—Giorgio Baglivi, c. 1696

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

—Sylvia Plath, 1963

We have to ask ourselves whether medicine is to remain a humanitarian and respected profession or a new but depersonalized science in the service of prolonging life rather than diminishing human suffering.

—Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, 1969

Be temperate in wine, in eating, girls, and sloth, or the Gout will seize you.

—Benjamin Franklin, 1734

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

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

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

How many desolate creatures on the earth have learnt the simple dues of fellowship and social comfort in a hospital.

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1857

The best physician is he who can distinguish the possible from the impossible.

—Herophilus, c. 290 BC

He is the best physician who is the most ingenious inspirer of hope.

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1833