March 26, 1960


JAMA. 1960;172(13):1394. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03020130052015

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[Jean Fernel] judged the surest and quickest way of learning medicine was this. After a thorough grounding in the principles and elements of philosophy, to learn straightway from some terse and well-written medical precis such details as have to be known of the nature of the human body; then to master the flavours, powers and virtues of medicaments simple and compound; and then to learn to distinguish the signs and symptoms of the several diseases and their causes, and to gather these together, as a store within the memory; then, finally, to follow, long and attentively, the art of practice of some elderly practitioner, capable and experienced in treatment, and to observe in the sick patients themselves what you have read in the books and heard in the lecture-room. He held that there was much in the theoretical part of medicine which could not be explained truly, nor understood, except

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