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Reviews Book

Moments of Truth: Four Creators of Modern Medicine

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 10 June 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:1443
  1. Ioana Vlad, junior doctor (
  1. Iasi, Romania

    None of the four 19th century medical personalities who are the subjects of this book won the Nobel prize, but all made important steps in the development of today's medicine. At a time when immediate auscultation and hippocratic succusion (holding patients by their shoulders and shaking them vigorously) were typical diagnostic procedures, the Frenchman René Laënnec invented the stethoscope and introduced it to clinical practice. Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian obstetrician, proved that puerperal fever was a type of septicaemia and pioneered antiseptic obstetrics. The book's third part focuses on …

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