Views & Reviews Between the lines

Talking with crowds, walking with kings

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 12 July 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:101
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Why is so much of the commentariat—the monstrous regiment of newspaper columnists, television presenters, and literati—so hostile to our great and wholly beneficent profession?

    There are two reasons, I think. The first is that we like those who have higher ethical standards than our own no more than we like those who have lower ethical standards. The second is that many critics of our profession wanted to be doctors but didn't quite make it.

    Not every frustrated doctor, however, turns against the profession. Rudyard Kipling, for example, wanted to be a doctor but always held the profession in the highest regard, despite never having entered it himself. Indeed, some of his best friends were doctors, including William Gowers and John Bland-Sutton (no mean writer himself …

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