Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews Between the Lines

Jerome K Jerome syndrome

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: (Published 14 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4194
  1. Theodore Dalrymple, writer and retired doctor

    One of the most famous medical prescriptions in English literature was the one given to Jerome K Jerome at the beginning of Three Men in a Boat.

    The author (and narrator) had gone to the British Museum to look up the treatment of a slight ailment—hay fever, as he recalls. Unfortunately he started flicking through the pages of the medical textbook and soon grew alarmed, for he seemed to have practically every symptom of every disease (except housemaid’s knee).

    He explained his plight to his friend and doctor, who examined him and handed him a prescription that the author duly took to the chemist’s. The chemist looked at it and …

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