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Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there also is love of humanity. ~ Hippocrates

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.
  • I find the medicine worse than the malady.
  • 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 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".
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations[edit]

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.
  • 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.
  • '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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
    Of Winnipissiogie.

    * 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Oh, powerful bacillus,
    With wonder how you fill us,
    Every day!
    While medical detectives,
    With powerful objectives,
    Watch your play.
  • 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.
  • A pill that the present moment is daily bread to thousands.
  • 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.
  • 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."
  • How the Doctor's brow should smile,
    Crown'd with wreaths of camomile.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Who shall decide when doctors disagree,
    And soundest casuists doubt, like you and me?
  • Banished the doctor, and expell'd the friend.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Physicians, of all men, are most happy: whatever good success soever they have, the world proclaimeth and what faults they commit, the earth covereth.
  • Use three Physicians,
    Still-first Dr. Quiet,
    Next Dr. Merry-man
    And Dr. Dyet.
    • From Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum, Edition 1607.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Trust not the physician;
    His antidotes are poison, and he slays
    More than you rob.
  • 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.
    • Tacitus, Annals, Book VI, Chapter XLVI. Same told by Suetonius, Life of Tiberius, Chapter LXVIII.
  • Ægrescitque medendo.
    • The medicine increases the disease.
    • Virgil, Æneid (29-19 BC), XII. 46.
  • 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[edit]

  • The smart man knows bandages only hides his wound.

External links[edit]

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