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May NaN, 2000

William Osler at 150—Reply

Author Affiliations

Phil B.FontanarosaMD, Deputy EditorIndividualAuthorStephen J.LurieMD, PhD, Contributing EditorIndividualAuthor

JAMA. 2000;283(20):2658. doi:10.1001/jama.283.20.2653

In Reply: I thank Dr Carter for his insightful comments on my article about the life and teachings of Sir William Osler. On a minor note, it is not quite accurate to depict Osler as one who "never had his own clinical practice." He engaged in private practice throughout his career, beginning in 1874 with service as a locum tenens in Dundas, Ontario, earning his first fee of 50¢ for the removal of a speck from the cornea. Osler maintained his own office, but his main role in private practice was as a consultant. He commented, "It is not necessary for every man to be a practitioner in the ordinary sense, but long years of hospital and laboratory work constitute a better equipment for the teacher and consultant."1 Indeed, for most of his career Osler was opposed to the concept of the full-time clinical teacher, although he later endorsed the idea. His private consulting practice reached its peak in Baltimore, Md, where in 1901 he traveled more than 19,000 miles and saw 780 new patients (exclusive of the hospital), including cabinet ministers and consultations at the White House.2 This increasing burden was a major factor in Osler's decision to accept the Regius Professorship at Oxford University in 1904, with its far less onerous demands.

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