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ARTICLE |

Osier: Inspirations From a Great Physician

Gerald F. Tremblay, MD, JD
JAMA. 1997;278(14):1201-1202. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550140095053.
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ABSTRACT

Reading about Osler is easier than reading Osier; his style is dated and his literary allusions are obscure. In "Books and Men," for example, he wrote:

Those of us who have brought forth fat volumes should offer hecatombs at these shrines of Minerva Medica. What exsuccous, attenuated offspring they would have been but for the pablum furnished through the placental circulation of a library. How often can it be said of us with truth, "Das beste was er ist verdankt er andern!"

In the same paragraph is the oftenquoted sentence, "To study the phenomena of disease without books is to sail an uncharted sea, while to study books without patients is not to go to sea at all."

Because the modern reader of Osler would need to trudge through many passages like the former to find rare gems like the latter, one might justifiably ask whether Osler is relevant to

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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