A Physician Reflects: Herman Boerhaave and other essaysBMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7437.470-a (Published 19 February 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:470
- Boleslav L Lichterman (firstname.lastname@example.org),
- Christopher C Booth
- Centre for the History of Medicine, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, Moscow, Russia
In this, his second volume of essays, Christopher Booth covers a range of topics across three centuries—from the life and work of Herman Boerhaave (1668-1738), who wrote the first modern medical textbooks and implemented clinical teaching in Leiden, to the changing concepts of health and disease during the 20th century. Like his 18th century predecessors Booth believes “that it was science that could best improve the healing art” and reminds us that the word “physick” was defined by Samuel Johnson in the first edition of his dictionary as “the science of healing.” Booth the historian is particularly interested in the Age of Reason, and five of the 15 essays are dedicated to 18th century British medicine and society.