Views & Reviews Medical Classics

The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 10 January 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:101
  1. David Warriner, F2 paediatric trainee, Scarborough
  1. orange_cyclist{at}

    Oliver Sacks describes himself as a “physician and naturalist,” and as he has written on matters as disparate as ferns, the periodic table, and encephalitis lethargica I am inclined to agree. It is this collection of case reports, however, that I consider to be his finest work.

    The book is divided into four thematic parts: “Losses,” “Excesses,” “Transports,” and “The world of the simple.” I discovered it in the sixth form, and it inspired me to study medicine and to practise—like Sacks—in the manner of James Purdon Martin, in which “patient and physician were co-equals . . . learning from and helping the other . . . …

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