Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Quotes: Medicine.

A collection of quotes on various topics. The sentence in bold face is a plain statement of the quote that follows.

Dr. “Grave-face.”
Medicine 438 Rosamond: Very well, Dr. Grave-face, I will declare in future that I dote on skeletons, and body snatchers, and bits of things in phials, and quarrels with everybody, that ends in your dying miserably. George Eliot, Middlemarch.

When young, Hawthorne’s wife submitted heroically to the medical profession.
Medicine 7 Lizzie Peabody recalled her sister’s heroic submission to the medical profession. Mellow, Hawthorne in His Times.

Medicines in Colonial America interfered less with the patients’ recovery than those in Europe.
Medicine 214 The common medical treatments here [colonial America] did not cure any more effectively than those administered in the Old World, but they probably interfered less with the patient’s recovery. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Medical guides were common in Colonial Virginia libraries.
Medicine 217 It is not surprising to find medical guides for laymen among the commonest books in Virginia libraries: Every Man his own Doctor, or, The Poor Planter’s Physician (1734) attained vast popularity by prescribing “plain and easy means for persons to cure themselves of all, or most of the distempers, incident to the climate, and with very little charge, the medicines being chiefly of the growth and production of this country.” Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Jefferson to physicians: Don’t interrupt Mother Nature’s work in healing.
Medicine 218 Jefferson (1807) was eloquent against the presumptuous dogmatism of the physicians: Having been so often a witness to the salutary efforts which nature makes to re-establish the disordered functions, he [the wise physician] should rather trust to their action, than hazard the interruption of that, and a greater derangement of the system, by conjectural experiments on a machine so complicated and so unknown as the human body and a subject so sacred as human life. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

One physician told Jefferson that he used mostly bread pills, drops of colored water and powders made of hickory ashes.
Medicine 218 Jefferson (1807): One of the most successful physicians I have ever known, has assured me, that he used more bread pills, drops of colored water, and powders of hickory ashes, than of all other medicines put together. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Jefferson noted changing fads in medicine.
Medicine 218 Jefferson (1807) on fads in medicine: I have lived myself to see the disciples of Hoffman, Boerhaave, Stahl, Cullen, Brown, succeed one another like the shifting figures of a magic lantern and their fancies, like the dresses of the annual doll-babies from Paris, becoming, from their novelty, the vogue of the day, and yielding to the next novelty their ephemeral flavor. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Common sense often cured more effectively than academic learning.
Medicine 219 [Dr. David Ramsay] ...boasted of the success of amateur doctors whose common sense was accomplishing what academic learning had found difficult or impossible: “The pride of science is sometimes humbled on seeing and hearing the many cures that are wrought by these pupils of experience, who, without theory of system, by observation and practice acquire a dexterity in curing common diseases.” Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Mather was more interested in remedies than causes of diseases.
Medicine 223 Mather’s “Angels of Bethseda”...showed...less interest... in the “causes” than in the remedies of diseases...illustrated the vagaries of learned doctors by their contradictory prescriptions for the consumption. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

When a man has a fit, you can tell me all kinds of things about possible causes, but you have not the sense to loosen the man’s collar and tie.
Medicine 236 Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes: Here is a man fallen in a fit; you can tell me all about the eight surfaces of the two processes of the palate-bone, but you have not had the sense to loosen that man’s neck-cloth, and the old women are calling you a fool. Boorstin, The Americans: Colonial Experience

Colonial doctors were good at diagnosis, but not so good at curing.
Medicine 71 Neither could there be any question that, although the specialist in internal medicine could make an accurate diagnosis of the symptoms, there was no corresponding body of knowledge of the cure. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Nature is the best medicine.
Medicine 71 The greatest medicine is nature. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

He repeated the same tranquilizing formulas, a dose of verbal bromides.
Medicine 242 …had to repeat the same tranquilizing formulas…all I can do is give her a dose of verbal bromides. Irving Stone, The Passions of the Mind (Life of Freud).

Doctors are beautiful diagnosers, but have no idea how to cure.
Medicine 579 I’ve tried all the medical faculty: They can diagnose beautifully, they have the whole of your disease at their finger-tips, but they’ve no idea how to cure you. Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

You may die, but you’ll know very clearly what you are dying of.
Medicine 580 There was an enthusiastic little [medical] student here, “you may die,’ said he, ‘but you’ll know perfectly what disease you are dying of.’ Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.

When his wife had breast cancer, he coped by reading scientific articles about the disease.
Medicine 205 I coped with my great anxiety [about his wife’s breast cancer] by reading scientific articles about the disease and the various [forms] of treatment. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

A hundred years from now, medical science might look on chemotherapy as it looks now on blood letting two centuries ago.
Medicine 205 I wonder whether a hundred years from now medical science might not look upon chemotherapy [as a treatment for cancer] as it does now upon the medical blood-letting of the eighteenth century. Bradley, Time Present, Time Past.

Doctors today cannot even tell the patient what is wrong with him because the language to describe it is incomprehensible.
Medicine 45 There is simply no way for his [the patient's] physician to tell him just what is the matter with him, for all the concepts on which the explanation must be based, and even most of its terms, are incomprehensible to him. Mencken, Minority Report.

Nature cures.
Medicine 217 It is nature that does it [cures] after all, and diseases are oftener effects of illness than causes. Jewett, A Country Doctor.

Young doctors have to follow their textbook learning until they have the experience to observe and think for themselves.
Medicine 217 But the young practitioners must follow the text-books a while until they have had enough experience to open their eyes to observe and have learned to think for themselves. [RFS: Like using the basal to teach reading.] Jewett, A Country Doctor.

The deceptions of character fall away in the face of pain and death.
Medicine 364 The decorations and deceptions of character must fall away before the great realities of pain and death. Jewett, A Country Doctor.

Why did he live so long? Ignorance of medicine.
Medicine 241 A Lacedemonian was asked what had made him live so long in good health: “Ignorance of medicine,” he replied. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

All medicines are harmful to us.
Medicine 248 Moreover, their authors hold that there is no medicine that has not something hurtful in it; and if even those which are useful to us do in some measure harm us, what must those do that are totally misapplied to us? Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Medicines that are more harmful than the disease they are supposed to treat.
Medicine 564 I hate remedies that are more troublesome than the disease itself. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

Nature knows her business better than doctors do.
Medicine 567 [Of curing diseases]: Let us leave it a little up to Nature; she knows her business better than we do. Montaigne, Selected Essays.

A homeopathic doctor uses medicine sparingly.
Medicine 667 A doctor was sent for, who, being homeopathic, gave me as much medicine…as would have lain on the point of a needle. Hawthorne, The Blithedale Romance.

In spite of the doctors’ treatments, he recovered.
Medicine 1306 He had what the doctors termed ‘bilious fever,’ but in spite of the fact that they treated him, bled him and made him swallow drugs—he recovered. Tolstoi, War and Peace

Reading about diseases makes me feel as if I have them.
Medicine 75 I no sooner began to peruse books of this nature [medical books] but I found my pulse was irregular, and scarce ever read the account of any disease that I did not fancy myself afflicted with it. Addison, 3/29/1711. The Spectator.

Health care is the new name for the profession of medicine.
Medicine 81 …health care has become the new name for medicine [and] health care delivery is what doctors now do…. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

We’re not very good at preventing disease and preserving health.
Medicine 82 We are really not all that good at preventing disease or preserving health—not yet anyway. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

We fail to notice our good health most of the time.
Medicine 83 Meanwhile, we are paying too little attention, and respect, to the built-in durability and sheer power of the human organism…the absolute marvel of good health that is the real lot of most of us, most of the time. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Most things get better by themselves.
Medicine 85 The great secret, known to internists and learned early in marriage by internists’ wives, but still hidden from the general public, is that most things get better by themselves. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Here’s a lady lying on the floor waiting for reviving by some scientific invention.
Medicine 674 Mr. Weller: Here’s a wenerable old lady a lyin’ on the carpet waitin’ for dissection, or galwinism, or some other rewivin’ and scientific inwention. Dickens, Pickwick.

Level I of medical care: helps patient cope with diseases that are not well understood.
Medicine1 32 Medical care levels1: “Supportive therapy”--tides patients over through diseases that are not, by and large, understood... [by]simply providing reassurance [and]...only the very best of doctors are good at coping with this kind of defeat. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Level II of medical care: “halfway technology”—things done to deal with disease and postpone death.
Medicine2 32 Medical care levels2: “Halfway technology”--the kinds of things that must be done after the fact...to make up for disease...to postpone death...the kind of thing that one must continue to do until there is a genuine understanding of the mechanisms involved in disease. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

Level III of medical care: comes from genuine understanding of the disease and is usually inexpensive, simple and easy to deliver.
Medicine3 35 Medical care levels3: ...comes as the result of a genuine understanding of disease mechanisms, and when it becomes available, it is relatively inexpensive, relatively simple, and relatively easy to deliver. L. Thomas, Lives of a Cell.

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