A woman appeared in my office recently who was a victim of what I might call 'specialitis.' She was being treated by a heart specialist for heart trouble, an internist for rheumatism, and a gastroenterologist for ulcer of the stomach. Actually she had none of these ailments...

Dr. Joseph A. Jerger, 1939


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Medical Quotations
PHYSICIAN, n. One upon whom we set our hopes when ill and our dogs when well. - from the Devil's Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce

...a peculiar thing in medicine is that we never believe anything unless it can be demonstrated in animals. - John A. Schindler, M.D.

Neurotic means he is not as sensible as I am, and psychotic means he's even worse than my brother-in-law. - Karl Menninger, M.D.

Nothing is more fatal to health than over care of it. - Ben Franklin

Many ordinary illnesses are nothing but the expression of a serious dissatisfaction with life. - Paul Tournier, M.D.

Do what you will, the time will probably come when you will want the advice of a PHYSICIAN. ..Choose a sensible man, personally agreeable to yourself, if possible, whom you know to have had a good education, to stand well with the members of his own profession, and of whom other scientific men, as well as physicians, speak respectfully...Once having chosen your medical adviser, be slow to leave him, except for good cause. He has served an apprenticeship to your constitution. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, M.D.

...city people shut themselves off from the processes of nature. They have air conditioning, central heating, eat hothouse vegetables, decorate with forced flowers, and even send their cats to a veterinarian to have kittens. The result is that when nature does assert itself -- when illness, pain, and death loom over their petty barriers -- your city dwellers are surprised and annoyed. Their attitude seems to say, "This is all a mistake and tomorrow it will be over" -- as though it were as simple as turning on a radiator to make a room warmer. - Joseph A. Jerger, M.D.

We have not lost faith, but we have transferred it from God to the medical profession. - George Bernard Shaw

But what physician has not had patients who don't make any sense at all? To tell the truth, they're our stock-in-trade. We talk and write about the ones we can make sense of. - Walker Percy

Every day doctors have to deal with people who are worn out and unable to stand up to the life they lead. They generally assert that it is impossible to alter the way they live, and sincerely believe that their overwork is the product of circumstance, whereas it is bound up with their own intimate problems. It is ambition, fear of the future, love of money, jealousy, or social injustice that makes men strive and overwork, invent all sorts of unnecessary tasks, keep late hours, take too little sleep, take insufficient holidays, or use their holidays badly. Their minds are overtense, so that at night they cannot sleep and by day they doubly fatigue themselves at their work. - Paul Tournier, M.D.

Some patients, though conscious that their condition is perilous, recover their health simply through their contentment with the goodness of the physician. - Hippocrates 460-400 B.C.

Honor a physician with the honor due unto him for the uses which ye may have of him: for the Lord hath created him. - Ecclesiasticus 38:1

Three rules: I do not eat too much; I do not worry too much; and, if I do my best, I believe that what happens, happens for the best. - Henry Ford

To live long, live slowly. - Cicero

Sickness may be the solemn occasion of God's intervention in a person's life. - Paul Tournier, MD

The public blames the medical profession for giving too many tranquilizers and antidepressants. But what would you do? Doctors like to see healing as the result of their work. Yet today we often must be content with far less. There are so many things wrong with people's lives that even our best is only a stopgap. - Richard A. Swenson, MD

The twenty thousand biomedical journals now published are increasing by six to seven per cent a year. To review ten journals in internal medicine, a physician must read about two hundred articles and seventy editorials a month. - Phil Manning, M.D. and Lois DeBakey, Ph.D. (written in 1987)

An inquiring, analytical mind; an unquenchable thirst for new knowledge; and a heartfelt compassion for the ailing - these are prominent traits among the committed clinicians who have preserved the passion for medicine. - Lois DeBakey, Ph.D.

...it is difficult for a specialist to see beyond his own field, and easy for him to believe that his own particular services are required. - Joseph A. Jerger, M.D.

...what happens then is like what happens when we separate a jigsaw puzzle into its fuve hundred pieces: The over-all picture disappears. This is the state of modern medicine: It has lost the sense of the unity of man. Such is the price it has paid for its scientific progress. It has sacrificed art to science. Paul Tournier, M.D.

The education of the doctor which goes on after he has his degree is, after all, the most important part of his education. - John Shaw Billings

Our profession, after all, deals partly with guess work; we do not deal in absolutes. - Paul Beeson, M.D.

The art of medicine cannot be inherited, nor can it be copied from books.... - Paracelsus

The most essential part of a student's instruction is obtained...not in the lecture-room, but at the bedside. Nothing seen there is lost; the rhythms of disease are learned by frequent repetition; its unforeseen occurences stamp themselves indelibly in the memory. - Oliver Wendell Holmes, M.D.

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The practice of medicine will be very much as you make it - to one a worry, a care, a perpetual annoyance; to another, a daily job and a life of as much happiness and usefulness as can well fall to the lot of man, because it is a life of self-sacrifice and of countless opportunities to comfort and help the weak-hearted, and to raise up those that fall.

We are here to add what we can to, not to get what we can from, life.

Engrossed late and soon in professional cares, getting and spending, you may so lay waste your powers that you may find, too late, with hearts given away, that there is no place in your habit-stricken souls for those gentler influences which make your life worth living.

...in the physician or surgeon no quality takes rank with imperturbability.

Without faith a man can do nothing; with it all things are possible.

The workers in Christ's vineyard were hired by the day; only for this day are we to ask for our daily bread, and we are expressly bidden to take no thought for the morrow.

The chief worries of life arise from the foolish habit of looking before and after.

The load of tomorrow added to that of yesterday, carried today, makes the strongest falter. Shut off the future as tightly as the past.

Waste of energy, mental distress, nervous worries dog the steps of a man who is anxious about the future.

The wider and freer a man's general education, the better practitioner he is likely to be.

Nothing in life is more wonderful than faith.

[T]he student begins with the patient, continues with the patient, and ends his studies with the patient, using books and lectures as tools, as means to an end.

If you do not believe in yourself how can you expect other people to do so? If you have not an abiding faith in the profession you cannot be happy in it.

from the works of Sir William Osler

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For Christian physicians...

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him to help you do it and he will. -Psa 37:5 TLB

We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. -- Rom 8:28 (KJV)

We cannot measure Divine Providence by the yardstick of human mentality. - Dr. A.J. Cronin

It becomes every person who purposes to give himself to the care of others, seriously to consider the four following things: First, that he must one day give an account to the Supreme Judge of all the lives entrusted to his care. Second, that all his skill and knowledge and energy, as they have been given him by God, so they should be exercised for His glory and the good of mankind, and not for mere gain or ambition. Third, and not more beautifully than truly, let him reflect that he has undertaken the care of no mean creature; for, in order that he may estimate the value, the greatness of the human race, the only begotten Son of God became himself a man and thus ennobled it with His divine dignity, and far more than this, died to redeem it. And fourth, that the doctor being himself a mortal human being, should be diligent and tender in relieving his suffering patients, inasmuch as he himself must one day be a like sufferer. - Dr. Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689)

The doctor who can no longer find time in his day for prayer and the inner life, time to prepare for his consultations in the presence of God and to seek his will for his patinets, cannot bring to them the spiritual climate that is necessary if they are to open their hearts to him. Driven on by his devotion to the needs of his practice, he leads a fatiguing and unsatisfying life in which only more and more rarely does he find those peaceful moments on intimacy when he can provide what the patient most expects of him. - Dr. Paul Tournier

The world does not need a new medicine: it needs doctors who know how to pray and obey God in their own lives. In such hands medicine, with all its modern resources, will bring forth fruits in abundance. - Dr. Paul Tournier

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. - Aristotle

The fact is that in denying the reality of sin, by giving people to understand that a fault of character is due to the malfunctioning of an endocrine gland, or by calling some impure temptation a "psychological complex," science destroys man's sense of moral responsibility. The present state of the world shows where that leads. - Paul Tournier, M.D.

Also see The Good Doctor (Oaths, Quotes, and Prayers for Physicians) and Absolute Truths of Medicine (Dr. Michael S. Cole).

(visit The Quotations Page or Bartleby.com for online quotations about almost anything. See also Dr. Michael Cole's list of Wise Thoughts and The Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia Quotes page.)


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