Views & Reviews Between the Lines

The last laugh

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 20 March 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:673
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

I have always regarded critics of the medical profession as ill informed, ill intentioned, or ill adjusted—or, of course, all three. I have known several newspaper editors, for example, who were profoundly anti-doctor, a hostility I ascribe to the fact that doctors are held in far higher public esteem than journalists. If journalists cannot improve their own reputation, they can at least try to destroy that of others. Politicians are of the same ilk as journalists.

Of the great critics of the medical profession, none was more ferocious and uncompromising than Jean-Baptiste Poquelin, better known as Molière. The last play he wrote was Le Malade Imaginaire, and as usual he makes fun of doctors …

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