Tuesday, September 23, 2008

William Osler on Bringing Old and Young Together

In his lectures to his students, Sir William Osler, once Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford, implored old doctors to associate freely with the young fellows who were pouring out of the universities, and he entreated these newly qualified medicos to cultivate the friendship of the old men.

`I wish', Sir William exclaims, fervidly, `I wish that the older practitioners would remember how important it is to encourage and utilize the young men who settle near them.' The young doctor is fresh from the university; his brain is simmering with new ideas; he has at his command the fruits of science's very latest researches; he has listened, with wondering ears, to the last word that wisdom has spoken. `If', says our brilliant professor, `if the old doctor has any soft arteries in his grey cortex, he will be able to pick up many valuable points from this young fellow; and, on the other hand, there is a vast amount of clinical wisdom floating about in each parish which is now wasted, and which dies with the old doctor, simply because he and the younger men have never been on friendly terms.'

Source: F W Boreham, The Chalice of Life: Reflections on the Significant Stages of Life (Eureka, CA: John Broadbanks Publishing, 2008), 42.

This new book is reviewed at this link.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: William Osler.