Signs Medicine Was Not The Career For Me-#1

As a medical resident, crumpling beneath the weight of accumulated medical knowledge and technique, I would long for the good old days: the centuries past when doctors didn’t have to know anything. There was really nothing to know. I mean a few humors, bleed them a bit, maybe hit ’em with a couple leeches. That was it.

The physician would just ride through the night to the house of an ailing patient. All puffed up with grandeur, he would put stethoscope to chest, listen to the failing heart, make some sage and worthless pronouncements, then have tea as the patient went to his reward.

He would accept his payment from the grateful family–some shillings, a farthing, perhaps a chicken or a joint of meat–and ride off in a blaze of glory, secure in knowing he had helped another patient pass into the next world. Now that was a job.

What a difference a few hundred years makes. The profession really had changed. We were meant to keep patients from making that same journey. Oh how I longed for lancets and leeches. There’s no way to get it wrong. It doesn’t work anyway. And a couple teaspoons of tincture of opium could really have taken the edge off.

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Published in: on December 5, 2006 at 1:46 pm  Leave a Comment  

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