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Osler's bedside library revisited—books for the 21st century

BMJ 2005; 331 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.331.7530.1482 (Published 15 December 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;331:1482
  1. Sanjay A Pai, consultant pathologist (s_pai@vsnl.com)1,
  2. Roop D Gursahani, consultant neurologist2
  1. 1 Manipal Hospital, Bangalore, India
  2. 2 P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai

    Medical education is, in many ways, incomplete. Although we are taught about the science of medicine, most medical school curriculums lack formal teaching on the humanity of medicine. Ethics, history, and philosophy are not taught formally in many schools. William Osler was one of the earliest to realise this, and in 1904 he proposed a bedside library for medical students that consisted of the Old and New Testaments, Shakespeare, Montaigne, Plutarch's Lives, Marcus Aurelius, Epictetus, Thomas Browne's Religio Medici, Don Quixote, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Oliver Wendell Holmes's “breakfast table” series.

    The reading tastes of people have changed over the years. From time to time other people, all from the West, have attempted to renew the list. We contacted 44 doctors (25 from India and 19 from North America and Europe) for …

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