William Osler: A Life in MedicineBMJ 2000; 321 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.321.7268.1087/a (Published 28 October 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1087
- Steve Sturdy, lecturer in history of medicine.
- Science Studies Unit, University of Edinburgh
Oxford University Press, £27.50, pp 581
ISBN 0 19 512346 8
When Sir William Osler died in 1919 he was widely judged to have been among the greatest physicians of all time. It is hard to imagine any present day doctor attracting such near universal adulation. Osler's life thus presents the historian with a fascinating problem: what was it that enabled a single figure to loom so large in the professional self consciousness of early 20th century medicine?
In his handsome new biography Michael Bliss portrays Osler as the living embodiment of the ideal 19th century physician. He was vastly knowledgeable in the natural history of disease, and his …