Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Elementary, my dear Hamish

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 01 April 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1337
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    Although it is not easy to decide definitively who is the most famous doctor in all literature, Doctor Watson must be among the candidates.

    This is not to say that he is an entirely plausible character. He is portrayed by his creator—all the more remarkably because his creator was himself a doctor—as a bumbling duffer who never learns from Holmes’s example. Surely there has never been an actual doctor as obtuse as this. Nor could Holmes conceivably have said to any real medical man, as he said to Watson, “You see, but you do not observe.”

    Perhaps the most harmless and innocent use to which …

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