The humanities in medicine
During the first half of the last century and earlier, the medical profession did precious little about disease. Was it Oliver Wendell Holmes who said, ‘Take out the poppy, take out the foxglove and the willow, it is my belief that, if the rest of the material medica were thrown into the sea, it would be so much the better for mankind, and so much the worse for the fish,’ or words to that effect? Those were the days in which the role of the medical man was to cure sometimes, to relieve often, to comfort always. The idea of the nobility of medicine was born in those days and the doctor was often a scholarly man of culture.
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