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Quotations on Medical Subjects

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In nothing do men more nearly approach the gods than in giving health to men.  ~Cicero

My doctor is nice; every time I see him, I'm ashamed of what I think of doctors in general.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.  ~Plato

Body and soul cannot be separated for purposes of treatment, for they are one and indivisible.  Sick minds must be healed as well as sick bodies.  ~C. Jeff Miller

In the sick room, ten cents' worth of human understanding equals ten dollars' worth of medical science.  ~Martin H. Fischer

It is a mathematical fact that fifty percent of all doctors graduate in the bottom half of their class.  ~Author Unknown

Restore a man to his health, his purse lies open to thee.  ~Robert Burton

I got the bill for my surgery.  Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for.  ~James H. Boren

A hospital should also have a recovery room adjoining the cashier's office.  ~Francis O'Walsh

Did God who gave us flowers and trees,
Also provide the allergies?
~E.Y. Harburg, "A Nose Is a Nose Is a Nose," 1965

I learned a long time ago that minor surgery is when they do the operation on someone else, not you.  ~Bill Walton

It is a wise mans part, rather to avoid sickness, than to wishe for medicines.  ~Thomas More, Utopia [sic]

I wondher why ye can always read a doctor's bill an' ye niver can read his purscription.  ~Finley Peter Dunne

You have a cough?  Go home tonight, eat a whole box of Ex-Lax - tomorrow you'll be afraid to cough.  ~Pearl Williams

To array a man's will against his sickness is the supreme art of medicine.  ~Henry Ward Beecher

A doctor whose breath smells has no right to medical opinion.  ~Martin H. Fischer

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit - Life!
~Emily Dickinson

It is a good thing for a physician to have prematurely grey hair and itching piles.  The first makes him appear to know more than he does, and the second gives him an expression of concern which the patient interprets as being on his behalf.  ~A. Benson Cannon

A doctor who cannot take a good history and a patient who cannot give one are in danger of giving and receiving bad treatment.  ~Author Unknown

One thousand Americans stop smoking every day - by dying.  ~Author Unknown

A hypochondriac is one who has a pill for everything except what ails him.  ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.  ~Voltaire

A doctor must work eighteen hours a day and seven days a week.  If you cannot console yourself to this, get out of the profession.  ~Martin H. Fischer

It is sometimes as dangerous to be run into by a microbe as by a trolley car.  ~J.J. Walsh

Every disease is a physician.  ~Irish Proverb

God heales, and the Physitian hath the thankes.  ~George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs

Drugs are not always necessary.  Belief in recovery always is.  ~Norman Cousins

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

There is no curing a sick man who believes himself to be in health.  ~Henri Amiel

Doctors think a lot of patients are cured who have simply quit in disgust.  ~Don Herold

The only equipment lack in the modern hospital?  Somebody to meet you at the entrance with a handshake!  ~Martin H. Fischer

The worst thing about medicine is that one kind makes another necessary.  ~Elbert Hubbard

When you are called to a sick man, be sure you know what the matter is - if you do not know, nature can do a great deal better than you can guess.  ~Nicholas de Belleville

Throw physic to the dogs; I'll none of it.  ~William Shakespeare

I recently became a Christian Scientist.  It was the only health plan I could afford.  ~Betsy Salkind

Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents.  ~Peter Mere Latham

In the nineteenth century men lost their fear of God and acquired a fear of microbes.  ~Author Unknown

Symptoms, then are in reality nothing but the cry from suffering organs.  ~Jean Martin Charcot, translated from French

I never read a patent medicine advertisement without being impelled to the conclusion that I am suffering from the particular disease therein dealt with in its most virulent form.  ~Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

Diagnosis is not the end, but the beginning of practice.  ~Martin H. Fischer

The physician should look upon the patient as a besieged city and try to rescue him with every means that art and science place at his command.  ~Alexander of Tralles

Physicians and politicians resemble one another in this respect, that some defend the constitution and others destroy it.  ~Author Unknown

A smart mother makes often a better diagnosis than a poor doctor.  ~August Bier

When fate arrives the physician becomes a fool.  ~Arabic Proverb

Medicines are not meat to live by.  ~German Proverb

Treat the patient, not the Xray.  ~James M. Hunter

God and the Doctor we alike adore
But only when in danger, not before;
The danger o'er, both are alike requited,
God is forgotten, and the Doctor slighted.
~Robert Owen

Financial ruin from medical bills is almost exclusively an American disease.  ~Roul Turley

The hospital is the only proper College in which to rear a true disciple of Aesculapius.  ~John Abernethy

A man who cannot work without his hypodermic needle is a poor doctor.  The amount of narcotic you use is inversely proportional to your skill.  ~Martin H. Fischer

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

Medicine is the only profession that labours incessantly to destroy the reason for its own existence.  ~James Bryce, 1914

It is not a case we are treating; it is a living, palpitating, alas, too often suffering fellow creature.  ~John Brown

The patient does not care about your science; what he wants to know is, can you cure him?  ~Martin H. Fischer

Medicines heals doubts as well as diseases.  ~Karl Marx

A physician is obligated to consider more than a diseased organ, more even than the whole man - he must view the man in his world.  ~Harvey Cushing

Medicine sometimes snatches away health, sometimes gives it.  ~Ovid, Tristia

As it takes two to make a quarrel, so it takes two to make a disease, the microbe and its host.  ~Charles V. Chapin

Disease is war with the laws of our being, and all war, as a great general has said, is hell.  ~Lewis G. Janes

Until a physician has killed one or two he is not a physician. ~Kashmiri Proverb

No man is a good doctor who has never been sick himself.  ~Chinese Proverb

Only one rule in medical ethics need concern you - that action on your part which best conserves the interests of your patient.  ~Martin H. Fischer

To me the ideal doctor would be a man endowed with profound knowledge of life and of the soul, intuitively divining any suffering or disorder of whatever kind, and restoring peace by his mere presence.  ~Henri Amiel

Medicinal discovery,
It moves in mighty leaps,
It leapt straight past the common cold
And give it us for keeps.
~Pam Ayres

When you no longer know what headache, heartache, or stomachache means without cistern punctures, electrocardiograms and six x-ray plates, you are slipping.  ~Martin H. Fischer

It is easy to get a thousand prescriptions but hard to get one single remedy.  ~Chinese Proverb

Never forget that it is not a pneumonia, but a pneumonic man who is your patient.  ~William Withey Gull

It is said to be the manner of hypochondriacs to change often their physician.  ~William Cullen, Practice of Physic

The road to medical knowledge is through the pathological museum and not through an apothecary's shop.  ~William Withey Gull

A Short History of Medicine
2000 B.C. - "Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C. - "That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D. - "That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D. - "That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D. - "That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D. - "That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root."
~Author Unknown

When a lot of remedies are suggested for a disease, that means it cannot be cured.  ~Anton Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

A half doctor near is better than a whole one far away.  ~German Proverb

No doctor is better than three.  ~German Proverb

I will lift mine eyes unto the pills.  Almost everyone takes them, from the humble aspirin to the multi-coloured, king-sized three deckers, which put you to sleep, wake you up, stimulate and soothe you all in one.  It is an age of pills.  ~Malcolm Muggeridge, 1962

Man may be the captain of his fate, but is also the victim of his blood sugar.  ~Wilfrid G. Oakley

Faith and knowledge lean largely upon each other in the practice of medicine.  ~Peter Mere Latham

Each patient ought to feel somewhat the better after the physician's visit, irrespective of the nature of the illness.  ~Warfield Theobald Longcope

Who ever thought up the word "Mammogram?"  Every time I hear it, I think I'm supposed to put my breast in an envelope and send it to someone.  ~Jan King

Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died.  ~Erma Bombeck

You may know the intractability of a disease by its long list of remedies.  ~Alonzo Clark

Here's good advice for practice:  go into partnership with nature; she does more than half the work and asks none of the fee.  ~Martin H. Fischer

Varicose veins are the result of an improper selection of grandparents.  ~William Osler

If you are too smart to pay the doctor, you had better be too smart to get ill.  ~African Proverb

When you treat a disease, first treat the mind.  ~Chen Jen

Symptoms are the body's mother tongue; signs are in a foreign language.  ~John Brown

The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.  ~Thomas Edison

Oh the powers of nature.  She knows what we need, and the doctors know nothing.  ~Benvenuto Cellini

So many come to the sickroom thinking of themselves as men of science fighting disease and not as healers with a little knowledge helping nature to get a sick man well.  ~Auckland Geddes, The Practitioner

Where a man feels pain he lays his hand.  ~Dutch Proverb

The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease.  ~French Proverb

Despite all our toil and progress, the art of medicine still falls somewhere between trout casting and spook writing.  ~Ben Hecht, Miracle of the Fifteen Murderers

The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth; and he that is wise will not abhor them.  ~Ecclesiasticus 38:4

A drug is that substance which, when injected into a rat, will produce a scientific report.  ~Author Unknown

Cancer is a word, not a sentence.  ~John Diamond

The medicalization of early diagnosis not only hampers and discourages preventative health-care but it also trains the patient-to-be to function in the meantime as an acolyte to his doctor.  He learns to depend on the physician in sickness and in health.  He turns into a life-long patient.  ~Ivan Illich

Patients may recover in spite of drugs or because of them.  ~J.H. Gaddum

He's the best physician that knows the worthlessness of the most medicines.  ~Benjamin Franklin

Physiology is the stepchild of medicine.  That is why Cinderella often turns out the queen.  ~Martin H. Fischer

The field of Western medicine has become literally nothing but medicine.  Doctors are on their way out, to be replaced by self-serve pharmaceutical vending machines.  ~Grey Livingston

The fact that your patient gets well does not prove that your diagnosis was correct.  ~Samuel J. Meltzer

Man is a creature composed of countless millions of cells:  a microbe is composed of only one, yet throughout the ages the two have been in ceaseless conflict.  ~A.B. Christie

Our profession is the only one which works unceasingly to annihilate itself.  ~Martin H. Fischer

On J-Day our profession will have a lot to answer for!  We might at least have withheld our hands instead of making them work against God.  ~Martin H. Fischer

The doctor may also learn more about the illness from the way the patient tells the story than from the story itself.  ~James B. Herrick

Don't think of organ donations as giving up part of yourself to keep a total stranger alive.  It's really a total stranger giving up almost all of themselves to keep part of you alive.  ~Author Unknown

Most of those evils we poor mortals know
From doctors and imagination flow.
~Charles Churchill

Men are not going to embrace eugenics.  They are going to embrace the first likely, trim-figured girl with limpid eyes and flashing teeth who comes along, in spite of the fact that her germ plasm is probably reeking with hypertension, cancer, haemophilia, colour blindness, hay fever, epilepsy, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.  ~Logan Clendening

Don't take your organs to heaven with you.  Heaven knows we need them here.  ~Author unknown, attributed to both Dan and Barbara Hladio and Thomas Boyadjis, Sr.

'Tis not always in a physician's power to cure the sick; at times the disease is stronger than trained art.  ~Ovid

And lo, The Hospital, grey, quiet, old, Where Life and Death like friendly chafferers meet.  ~William Ernest Henley

For the most part, Western medicine doctors are not healers, preventers, listeners, or educators.  But they're damned good at saving a life and the other aspects kick the beam.  It's about time we brought some balance back to the scale.  ~Claire Todae

A sweating ovary or a sick prostate explains most history.  ~Martin H. Fischer

The only weapon with which the unconscious patient can immediately retaliate upon the incompetent surgeon is hemorrhage.  ~William Stewart Halsted

The public blabbers about preventative medicine, but will neither appreciate nor pay for it.  You get paid for what you cure.  ~Martin H. Fischer

To save a man's life against his will is the same as killing him.  ~Horace

Nowadays the clinical history too often weighs more than the man.  ~Martin H. Fischer

Hypochondriacs squander large sums of time in search of nostrums by which they vainly hope they may get more time to squander.  ~Mortimer Collins

One doctor makes work for another.  ~English Proverb

Doctors are just the same as lawyers; the only difference is that lawyers merely rob you, whereas doctors rob you and kill you, too.  ~Anton Chekhov, Ivanov

Let the young know they will never find a more interesting, more instructive book than the patient himself.  ~Giorgio Baglivi

Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic.  ~Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin, 1973

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Last modified 2023 Nov 18 Sun 09:27 PST

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