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Quotes

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

—Herophilus, c. 290 BC

I have yet, I believe, some years in store, for I have a good state of health and a happy mind, and I take care of both by nourishing the first with temperance and the latter with abundance. This, I believe, you will allow to be the true philosophy of life.

—Thomas Paine, 1803

You can’t find the soul with a scalpel.

—Gustave Flaubert, c. 1880

A miracle drug is any drug that will do what the label says it will do.

—Eric Hodgins, 1964

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

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

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

—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 1857

To get back my youth I would do anything in the world, except take exercise, get up early, or be respectable.

—Oscar Wilde, 1891

Well now, there’s a remedy for everything except death.

—Miguel de Cervantes, 1605

If a patient is poor, he is committed to a public hospital as “psychotic”; if he can afford the luxury of a private sanitarium, he is put there with the diagnosis of “neurasthenia”; if he is wealthy enough to be isolated in his own home under constant watch of nurses and physicians, he is simply an indisposed “eccentric.”

—Pierre Marie Janet, 1930

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

—Giorgio Baglivi, c. 1696

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

—Benjamin Franklin, 1734

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