Medicine is the art and science of healing.
- Our world is one of terrible contradictions. Plenty of food but one billion people go hungry. Lavish lifestyles for a few, but poverty for too many others. Huge advances in medicine while mothers die everyday in childbirth . . . Billions spent on weapons to kill people instead of keeping them safe.
- Without the aid of statistics nothing like real medicine is possible.
- Pierre Charles Alexandre Louis
- Quoted in Evidence-based medicine: old French wine with a new Canadian label?, P K Rangachari, J R Soc Med. 1997 May; 90(5): 280–284.
- Before the eighteenth century the demographic impact of the profession of medicine remained negligible. Relatively few persons could afford to pay a doctor for his often very expensive services; and for every case in which the doctor's attendance really made a difference between life and death, there were other instances in which even the best available professional services made little difference to the course of the disease, or actually hindered recovery. ...Only with the eighteenth century did the situation begin to change; and it was not until after 1850 or so that the practice of medicine and the organization of medical services begin to make large-scale differences in human survival rates and population growth.
- Tum medicinali tantum florebat in arte, posset ut hic nullus languor hobere locum
- I find the medicine worse than the malady.
- Beaumont and Fletcher, Love's Cure (c. 1612–13; revised c. 1625; published 1647), Act III, scene 2.
- The unbiased opinion of most medical men of sound judgment and long experience...[holds that] the amount of death and disaster in the world would be less, if all disease were left to itself.
- Harvard professor Jacob Bigelow, 1835.
- Cured yesterday of my disease, I died last night of my physician.
- Matthew Prior (1664-1721).
- Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn't organised to serve human health, but only itself, as an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.
- Ivan Illich, in Medical Nemesis (1976).
- I firmly believe that if the whole material medica, as now used, could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be better for mankind-and all the worse for the fishes.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., 19th century physician
- The college-birs are three
Law, Physic and Divinity
And while these three remain combined,
They keep the world oppressed and blind...
Now is the time to be set free,
From priests' and Doctors' slavery.
- 19th century rhyme associated with the Thomsonian movement
- The ignorance and general incompetency of the average graduate of the American medical Schools, at the time when he receives the degree which turns him loose upon the community, is something horrible to contemplate.
- Charles Eliot, President of Harvard University, 1869. In response to this call for reform, Harvard Professor of Surgery Harold Bigelow replied "He actually proposes to have written examinations for the degree of doctor of medicine. I had to tell him that he knew nothing about the quality of Harvard medical students. More than half of them can barely write. Of course they can't pass written examinations...No medical school has thought it proper to risk large existing classes and larger receipts by introducing more rigorous standards".
- We should not encourage the medical student to while away his time in the labyrinths of Chemistry and Physiology.
- Harvard Medical School professor, 1871.
- History is replete with examples of what happens when any group of authorities do not have to answer to empirical evidence but are free to define truth as they see fit. None of the examples has a happy ending. Why should it be otherwise with therapy?
- Robert Todd Carroll, The Skeptic's Dictionary, entry on "repressed memory therapy (RMT)".
- The objective of medicine is not the knowledge of the Disease, but the relieve of the suffering due to it
- Miguel Ángel García, spanish medical doctor
- From inability to let well alone; from too much zeal for the new and contempt for what is old; from putting knowledge before wisdom, science before art and cleverness before common sense; from treating patients as cases; and from making the cure of the disease more grievous than the endurance of the same, Good Lord, deliver us.
- Sir Robert Hutchison, 20th century physician, British Medical Journal, 1953; 1: 671.
- Medicine, the only profession that labours incessantly to destroy the reason for its existence.
- The only real difference between medicine and poison is the dose....and intent.
- Oscar G. Hernandez, MD
- Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.
- Voltaire (1694-1778).
- Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there also is love of humanity.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations
- Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 502-04.
- Medicus carat, Natura sanat morbus.
- The physician heals, Nature makes well.
- Idea in Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book VII. 15. 7. Oxford text.
- A man's own observation, what he find good of, and what he finds hurt of, is the best physic to preserve health.
- Francis Bacon, Essays, Of Regimen of Health.
- Dat Galenus opes, dat Justinianus honores,
Sed genus species cogitur ire pedes.
- The rich Physician, honor'd Lawyers ride,
Whil'st the poor Scholar foots it by their side.
- Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), I. 2. 3. 15. Quoted by Dr. Robert F. Arnold. A like saying may be found in Franciscus Floridus Sabinus—Lectiones Subcisive, Book I, Chapter I. Also John Owen—Medicus et I. C.
- Ovid, Fasti, I. 217; Amores, III, VIII. 55.
- The rich Physician, honor'd Lawyers ride,
- 'Tis not amiss, ere ye're giv'n o'er,
To try one desp'rate med'cine more;
For where your case can be no worse,
The desp'rat'st is the wisest course.
- Samuel Butler, Epistle of Hudibras to Sidrophel, line 5.
- Learn'd he was in medic'nal lore,
For by his side a pouch he wore,
Replete with strange hermetic powder
That wounds nine miles point-blank would solder.
- Samuel Butler, Hudibras, Part I (1663-64), Canto II, line 223.
- This is the way that physicians mend or end us,
Secundum artem: but although we sneer
In health—when ill, we call them to attend us,
Without the least propensity to jeer.
- Dios que dá la llaga, dá la medicina.
- Ægri quia non omnes convalescunt, idcirco ars nulla medicina est.
- Because all the sick do not recover, therefore medicine is not an art.
- Cicero, De Natura Deorum, II. 4.
- When taken
To be well shaken.
- George Colman the Younger, Broad Grins, The Newcastle Apothecary, Stanza 12.
- Take a little rum
The less you take the better,
Pour it in the lakes
Of Wener or of Wetter.
Dip a spoonful out
And mind you don't get groggy,
Pour it in the lake
* Stir the mixture well
Lest it prove inferior,
Then put half a drop
Into Lake Superior.
Every other day
Take a drop in water,
You'll be better soon
Or at least you oughter.
- Bishop G. W. Doane, Lines on Homeopathy.
- Better to hunt in fields for health unbought,
Than fee the doctor for a nauseous draught.
The wise for cure on exercise depend;
God never made his work for man to mend.
- John Dryden, Epistle to John Dryden of Chesterton, line 92.
- So liv'd our sires, ere doctors learn'd to kill,
And multiplied with theirs the weekly bill.
- John Dryden, To John Dryden, Esq, line 71.
- Even as a Surgeon, minding off to cut
Some cureless limb, before in use he put
His violent Engins on the vicious member,
Bringeth his Patient in a senseless slumber,
And grief-less then (guided by use and art),
To save the whole, sawes off th' infected part.
- Guillaume de Salluste Du Bartas, Divine Weekes and Workes, First Week, Sixth Day, line 1,018.
- For of the most High cometh healing.
- Ecclesiasticus, XXXVIII. 2.
- One doctor, singly like the sculler plies,
The patient struggles, and by inches dies;
But two physicians, like a pair of oars,
Waft him right swiftly to the Stygian shores.
- Quoted by Garth, The Dispensary.
- A single doctor like a sculler plies,
And all his art and all his physic tries;
But two physicians, like a pair of oars,
Conduct you soonest to the Stygian shores.
- Epigrams Ancient and Modern. Edited by Rev. John Booth, London, 1863, p. 144. Another version signed D, (probably John Dunscombe) in note to Nichols' Select Collection of Poems.
- "Is there no hope?" the sick man said,
The silent doctor shook his head,
And took his leave with signs of sorrow,
Despairing of his fee to-morrow.
- John Gay, The Sick Man and the Angel.
- Oh, powerful bacillus,
With wonder how you fill us,
While medical detectives,
With powerful objectives,
Watch your play.
- William Tod Helmuth, Ode to the Bacillus.
- I firmly believe that if the whole materia medica could be sunk to the bottom of the sea, it would be all the better for mankind and all the worse for the fishes.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., Lecture before the Harvard Medical School.
- A pill that the present moment is daily bread to thousands.
- Douglas Jerrold, The Catspaw, Act I, scene 1.
- Orandum est, ut sit mens sana in corpore sano.
- A sound mind in a sound body is a thing to be prayed for.
- Juvenal, Satires, X. 356.
- You behold in me
Only a travelling Physician;
One of the few who have a mission
To cure incurable diseases,
Or those that are called so.
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Christus, The Golden Legend (1872), Part I.
- Physician, heal thyself.
- Luke, IV. 23. Quoted as a proverb.
- And in requital ope his leathern scrip,
And show me simples of a thousand names,
Telling their strange and vigorous faculties.
- Adrian, the Emperor, exclaimed incessantly, when dying, "That the crowd of physicians had killed him."
- Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Book II, Chapter XXXVII.
- How the Doctor's brow should smile,
Crown'd with wreaths of camomile.
- Thomas Moore, Wreaths for Ministers.
- Dulcia non ferimus; succo renovamus amaro.
- We do not bear sweets; we are recruited by a bitter potion.
- Ovid, Ars Amatoria, III. 583.
- Medicus nihil aliud est quam animi consolatio.
- A physician is nothing but a consoler of the mind.
- Petronius Arbiter, Satyricon.
- I have heard that Tiberius used to say that that man was ridiculous, who after sixty years, appealed to a physician.
- Plutarch, De Sanitate tuenda, Volume II.
- So modern 'pothecaries, taught the art
By doctor's bills to play the doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
- Learn from the beasts the physic of the field.
- Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man (1733-34), Epistle III, line 174.
- Who shall decide when doctors disagree,
And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me?
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle III.
- Banished the doctor, and expell'd the friend.
- Alexander Pope, Moral Essays (1731-35), Epistle III, line 330.
- You tell your doctor, that y' are ill
And what does he, but write a bill,
Of which you need not read one letter,
The worse the scrawl, the dose the better.
For if you knew but what you take,
Though you recover, he must break.
- Matthew Prior, Alma, Canto III, line 97.
- But, when the wit began to wheeze,
And wine had warm'd the politician,
Cur'd yesterday of my disease,
I died last night of my physician.
- Matthew Prior, The Remedy Worse than the Disease.
- Physicians, of all men, are most happy: whatever good success soever they have, the world proclaimeth and what faults they commit, the earth covereth.
- Francis Quarles, Hieroglyphics of the Life of Man.
- Use three Physicians,
Still-first Dr. Quiet,
Next Dr. Merry-man
And Dr. Dyet.
- From Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, Edition 1607.
- By medicine life may be prolonged, yet death
Will seize the doctor too.
- No cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death.
- In poison there is physic; and these news,
Having been well, that would have made me sick;
Being sick, have in some measure made me well.
- 'Tis time to give 'em physic, their diseases
Are grown so catching.
- * In this point
All his tricks founder, and he brings his physic
After his patient's death.
- Take physic, pomp;
Expose thyself to feel what wretches feel.
- How does your patient, doctor?
Not so sick, my lord,
As she is troubled with thick-coming fancies.
- Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd,
Pluck from the memory a rooted sorrow,
Raze out the written troubles of the brain,
And with some sweet oblivious antidote
Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff
Which weighs upon the heart?
- Therein the patient
Must minister to himself.
Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.
- If thou couldst, doctor, cast
The water of my land, find her disease,
And purge it to a sound and pristine health,
I would applaud thee to the very echo,
That should applaud again.
- In such a night
Medea gather'd the enchanted herbs
That did renew old Æson.
- I do remember an apothecary,—
And hereabouts he dwells,—whom late I noted
In tatter'd weeds, with overwhelming brows,
Culling of simples; meagre were his looks,
Sharp misery had worn him to the bones:
And in his needy shop a tortoise hung,
An alligator stuff'd, and other skins
Of ill-shaped fishes; and about his shelves
A beggarly account of empty boxes,
Green earthen pots, bladders and musty seeds,
Remnants of packthread and old cakes of roses,
Were thinly scatter'd to make up a show.
- You rub the sore,
When you should bring the plaster.
- Trust not the physician;
His antidotes are poison, and he slays
More than you rob.
- When I was sick, you gave me bitter pills.
- Crudelem medicum intemperans æger facit.
- A disorderly patient makes the physician cruel.
- Syrus, Maxims.
- He (Tiberius) was wont to mock at the arts of physicians, and at those who, after thirty years of age, needed counsel as to what was good or bad for their bodies.
- But nothing is more estimable than a physician who, having studied nature from his youth, knows the properties of the human body, the diseases which assail it, the remedies which will benefit it, exercises his art with caution, and pays equal attention to the rich and the poor.
- Voltaire, Dictionnaire philosophique portatif ("A Philosophical Dictionary") (1764), Physicians.
Quotes in fiction
- The smart man knows bandages only hides his wound.
- Bobblehead inscription in Fallout 3.