This is a collection of quotations related to medicine and the sources of quotations are mainly the medical journals like Lancet, British Medical Journal (BMJ), Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), etc., newspapers like The Times, Irish times, etc. and various magazines, committees, books, letters, etc.
1. An adult is one who has ceased to grow vertically but not horizontally.
2. A consultant is a man sent in after the battle to bayonet the wounded.
3. A doctor who cannot take a good history and a patient who cannot give one are in danger of giving and receiving bad treatment.
4. A man’s liver is his carburetor.
5. A minor operation: one performed on somebody else.
6. A surgeon should give as little pain as possible while he is treating the patient, and no pain at all when he charges his fee.
7. Abstinence is a good thing, but it should always be practised in moderation.
8. A rash of dermatologists, a hive of allergists, a scrub of interns, a giggle of nurses, a flood of urologists, a pile of proctologists, an eyeful of ophthalmologists, a whiff of anesthesiologists, a cast of orthopaedic rheumatologists, a gargle of laryngologists.
9. Asthma is a disease that has practically the same symptoms as passion except that with asthma it lasts longer.
10. Choose your specialist and you choose your disease.
11. Dermatology is the best specialty. The patient never dies and never gets well.
12. Even a good operation done poorly is still a poor operation.
13. Everyone faces at all times two fateful possibilities: one is to grow older, the other not.
14. Fifty years ago the successful doctor was said to need three things; a top hat to give him Authority, a paunch to give him Dignity, and piles to give him an Anxious Expression.
15. Have faith in the Lord but use sulphur for the itch.
16. Homeopathy waged a war of radicalism against the profession. Very different would have been the profession’s attitude toward homeopathy if it had aimed, like other doctrines advanced by physicians, to gain a foothold among medical men alone or chiefly, instead of making its appeal to the popular favour and against the profession.
17. If I were summing up the qualities of a good teacher of medicine, I would enumerate human sympathy, moral and intellectual integrity, enthusiasm, and ability to talk, in addition, of course, to knowledge of his subject.
18. If three simple questions and one well chosen laboratory test lead to an unambiguous diagnosis, why harry the patient with more?
19. If you resolve to give up smoking, drinking and loving, you don’t actually live longer; it just seems that way.
20. In diagnosis, the young are positive and the middle-aged tentative; only the old have flair.
21. In the nineteenth century men lost their fear of God and acquired a fear of microbes.
22. It is better to employ a doubtful remedy than to condemn the patient to a certain death.
23. It is not what disease the patient has but which patient has the disease.
24. Many physicians would prefer passing a small kidney stone to presenting a paper.
25. Medical statistics are like a bikini. What they reveal is interesting but what they conceal is vital.
26. My friend was sick: I attended him. He died; I dissected him.
27. Never let the sun set or rise on a small bowel obstruction.
28. No woman wants an abortion. Either she wants a child or she wishes to avoid pregnancy.
29. Palliative care should not be associated exclusively with terminal care. Many patients need it early in the course of their disease.
30. Patients and their families will forgive you for wrong diagnoses, but will rarely forgive you for wrong prognoses; the older you grow in medicine, the more chary you get about offering iron clad prognoses, good or bad.
31. Physicians and politicians resemble one another in this respect, that some defend the constitution and others destroy it.
32. Physicians are rather like undescended testicles, they are difficult to locate and when they are found, they are pretty ineffective.
33. Poverty is a virtue greatly exaggerated by physicians no longer forced to practise it.
34. Removing the teeth will cure something, including the foolish belief that removing the teeth will cure everything.
35. Rheumatic fever licks at the joints, but bites at the heart.
36. Sepsis is an insult to a surgeon.
37. Surgeons get long lives and short memories.
38. The best physicians are Dr. Diet, Dr. Quiet and Dr. Merryman.
39. The comforting, if spurious, precision of laboratory results has the same appeal as the lifebelt to the weak swimmer.
40. The new definition of psychiatry is the care of the id by the odd.
41. The psychiatrist is the obstetrician of the mind.
42. There is no short cut from chemical laboratory to clinic, except one that passes too close to the morgue.
43. The spine is a series of bones running down your back. You sit on one end of it and your head sits on the other.
44. The wound is granulating well, the matter formed is diminishing in quantity and is laudable. But the wound is still deep and must be dressed from the bottom to ensure sound healing.
45. Today’s facts are tomorrow’s fallacies.
46. You shall not eat or drink in the company of other people but with lepers alone, and you shall know that when you shall have died you will not be buried in the church.
Thou to whom the sick and dying
Ever came, nor came in vain,
With thy healing hands replying
To their wearied cry of pain.
’Tis better than riches
To scratch when it itches
A physician is someone who knows everything and does nothing.
A surgeon is someone who does everything and knows nothing.
A psychiatrist is someone who knows nothing and does nothing.
A pathologist is someone who knows everything and does everything too late.
Dr Bell fell down the well
And broke his collar bone
Doctors should attend the sick
And leave the well alone
Get up at 5, have lunch at 9,
Supper at 5, retire at 9,
And you will live to 99.
Here lies one who for medicines would not give
A little gold, and so his life he lost;
I fancy now he’d wish again to live,
Could he but guess how much his funeral cost.
Source: Oxford Dictionary of Medical Quotations