Friday, February 20, 2009

Quotes: Medicine (4)

Medicine 103 Robert Koch: "I hate this bluff that my medical practice isn’t because I do not want to save babies from diphtheria...but mothers come to me crying--asking me to save their babies--and what can I do?--grope... fumble... reassure them when I know there is no can I cure diphtheria when I do not even know what causes it, when the wisest doctor in Germany doesn’t know." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. On what doctors don't know. RayS.

Medicine 103 "...but meanwhile the Moujiks of desolate towns in Russia were still warding off scourges by hitching four widows to a plow and with them drawing a furrow round their villages in the dead of night--and their doctors had no sounder protection to offer them." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. Will today's medical practices be any sounder? RayS.

Medicine 118 "So it was that he [Koch] began to change the whole business of doctors from a foolish hocus-pocus with pills and leeches into an intelligent fight where science instead of superstition was the weapon." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. We still have the pills. Boy, do we! RayS.

Medicine 135 "In Alexandria the streets were still with fear; the murderous virus...sneaked into healthy men in the morning, doubled them into knots of spasm-racked agony by afternoon, and put them to rest beyond the reach of all pain by night." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. The terror of the plague. RayS.

Medicine 227 "He [Theobald Smith] was a doctor of medicine from the Albany Medical College...detested the idea of going through life solemnly diagnosing sickness he could not hope to cure, offering sympathy where help was needed, trying to heal patients for whom there was no hope--in brief, medicine seemed to him to be a mixed-up, illogical business." DeKruif, Microbe Hunters. Still is. RayS.

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