Patients-not just Images

Devoted to Education and Practice in Patient-centered Radiology

Sir William Osler in Radiology?

Sir William Osler (1849-1919)

'The Father of Modern Medicine' and the teacher of the Art and the Science of Medicine

Why Osler in Radiology?

The teachings of Sir William Osler have deeply influenced my practice of Radiology. When you go through the profoundness of these in the latter part of this page, you will appreciate why I decided to create this website and include a page on Osler - in a space devoted to Radiology education - perhaps a first of its kind in a Radiology website!

As we practice radiology, we come across patients all around . We see them outside the CT scan, at the accident and emergency department waiting anxiously for "Doctor, is there something?" There will be an extremely anxious woman waiting for her mammography examination or a wailing, 'blue baby' of a few months' old for a CT examination under anesthesia - the teary eyed mother handing over the child to the nurse to be taken to the examination room, No matter, what the examination, most patients will have this once question, when the procedure is over, "Doctor, what is the report" or "Doctor, is there cancer?" or in the case of an antenatal scan, "Doctor, is everything alright?"

Interventional radiology needs no special mention.

Let's be sensitive to these emotions and be in a position to truthfully address these concerns. We cannot escape the fact that radiology is about patients' suffering and not just the 'great' images we produce on sophisticated equipment.

Osler taught Medicine as an art – not just as a science of technology or instruments. The more we deal with instruments and technology, the farther we seem to be moving away from the human suffering that disease is.

Take a moment and reflect on why you chose to be a physician and perhaps everything will fall in place

I have given below a few of Osler's better-known quotes, collated from various sources.. but; first - about 'Osler and me'!

I am grateful to the following teachers - at my alma mater, the GS Medical College - for introducing me to Osler.

Dr. Sunil Pandya, a Neurosurgeon introduced me to Osler's bedside Library

Dr..Shantakumar Bhandarkar, an endocrinologist, in a moving 'last cup of coffee together" at the canteen of my college gave me his personal copy of Osler's all-time-great book - Aequanimitas - saying: "I feel this book is now passing to worthy hands".

The late Dr. Manu Kothari , an anatomist and Medical philosopher, gifted me his personal copy of this book. Dr. Kothari would liberally intersperse his lectures, talks and speeches with Osler's quotes and one of them adorns the entrance to library of the GS Medical College.

William Osler Quotes - a sampling.

The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.

It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.

The practice of medicine is an art, not a trade; a calling, not a business; a calling in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head. Often the best part of your work will have nothing to do with potions and powders, but with the exercise of an influence of the strong upon the weak, of the righteous upon the wicked, of the wise upon the foolish.

Listen to your patient, he is telling you the diagnosis.

Care more for the individual patient than for the special features of the disease. . . . Put yourself in his place . . . The kindly word, the cheerful greeting, the sympathetic look - these the patient understands.

Medicine is learned by the bedside and not in the classroom. Let not your conceptions of disease come from words heard in the lecture room or read from the book. See, and then reason and compare and control. But see first.

Gentlemen, I have a confession to make. Half of what we have taught you is in error, and furthermore we cannot tell you which half it is.

He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all.

Observe, record, tabulate, communicate. Use your five senses. Learn to see, learn to hear, learn to feel, learn to smell, and know that by practice alone you can become expert.

The hardest conviction to get into the mind of a beginner is that the education upon which he is engaged is not a college course, not a medical course, but a life course, for which the work of a few years under teachers is but a preparation.

One of the first duties of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.

The practice of medicine will be very much as you make it - to one a worry, a care, a perpetual annoyance; to another, a daily job and a life of as much happiness and usefulness as can well fall to the lot of man, because it is a life of self-sacrifice and of countless opportunities to comfort and help the weak-hearted, and to raise up those that fall.

Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.

Variability is the law of life, and as no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease.

Live neither in the past nor in the future, but let each day absorb all your interest, energy and enthusiasm. The best preparation for tomorrow is to live today superbly well.

Be calm and strong and patient. Meet failure and disappointment with courage. Rise superior to the trials of life, and never give in to hopelessness or despair. In danger, in adversity, cling to your principles and ideals. Aequanimitas!

The trained nurse has become one of the great blessings of humanity, taking a place beside the physician and the priest.

Acquire the art of detachment, the virtue of method, and the quality of thoroughness, but above all the grace of humility.

The very first step towards success in any occupation is to become interested in it.

We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.

Every patient you see is a lesson in much more than the malady from which he suffers.

The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism.

One special advantage of the sceptical attitude of mind is that a man is never vexed to find that after all he has been in the wrong.

The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.

The doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient.

It is astonishing with how little reading a doctor can practice medicine, but is not astonishing how badly he may do it.

To confess ignorance is often wiser than to beat about the bush with a hypothetical diagnosis.

There are, in truth, no specialties in medicine, since to know fully many of the most important diseases a man must be familiar with their manifestations in many organs.

Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in you humdrum routine, the true poetry of life - the poetry of the commonplace, of the ordinary person, of the plain, toil worn, with their loves and their joys, their sorrows and griefs.

Think not of the amount to be accomplished, the difficulties to be overcome, or the end to be attained, but set earnestly, at the little task at your elbow, letting that be sufficient for the day.

Look wise, say nothing, and grunt. Speech was given to conceal thought.

Shut out all of your past except that which will help you weather your tomorrows.

We may indeed be justly proud of our apostolic succession. THESE ARE OUR METHODS - to carefully observe the phenomena of life in all its stages , to cultivate reasoning faculty so as to be able to know the true from the false. THIS IS OUR WORK - to prevent disease, to relieve suffering and to heal the sick.

To do today's work well and not to bother about tomorrow is the secret of accomplishment

The higher education so much needed today is not given in the school, is not to be bought in the marketplace, but it has to be wrought out in each one of us for himself; it is the silent influence of character on character.

William osler epitaph

If you have made it to the bottom of this page, you may want to dig deeper about Sir William Osler.

Please read on at this link of the US National Library of Medicine.