The days when doctors were doctors and patients were patients

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 13.47.45Dalrymple explains that in T.S. Eliot’s The Family Reunion (1939), Warburton

is an old-fashioned family doctor whose authority has little to do with his medical efficacy, indeed is inversely proportional to it.

Warburton is able

to order a formidable dowager duchess around like a servant. His threat to decline to treat her further is enough to bring her into line.

In Dalrymple’s copy of The Family Reunion

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 13.51.22I happened to find an inscription offering the book as a Christmas gift to a well-known physician who was not universally loved and who was irreverently known to his juniors by the description of the stools of some of his patients with coeliac disease, namely Pale, Bulky, and Offensive.

The signatory of the note was

another physician who, in March 1938, was a co-signatory of the letter in the British Medical Journal calling attention to the plight of Jewish and other doctors after the Anschluss.

The letter ended with the words:

We beg our colleagues in all countries to watch the progress of events with the closest attention and to do all in their power, whether by public protest or by public or private assistance, to stand by any members of our profession who may suffer hardship under the new regime.

Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 13.38.26Screen Shot 2016-05-06 at 13.39.47

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