June 1959

Osler's Unfinished Business

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1959;103(6):978-980. doi:10.1001/archinte.1959.00270060130018

Sir William Osler left an unforgotten legacy to medicine. He was an ideal physician. He turned the hospital into a teaching institution. He popularized ward teaching of medical students. He reemphasized standards of medical etiquette. He brought medical ethics to the highest plane. He wrote a textbook that opened the doors of medical research. In addition to these, he left suggestions of the greatest merit for the improvement of present-day and future medicine.

Osler, though a clinician, did his own postmortem examinations. Edward Janeway and Austin Flint, clinicians of outstanding ability, did their own postmortems too. There is no question that the average doctor with a little special training in postmortem technique and with the assistance of a pathologist can also do his own postmortems. There is no reason why a doctor so trained cannot assist more frequently at postmortems in the hospital; nor is there any reason why he

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