May 1956

Doctor of Both Medicines

AMA Arch Surg. 1956;72(5):737-741. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1956.01270230001001

It is customary for presidential addresses before surgical societies to deal with philosophical aspects of the profession and with the training of the young surgeon. The discourse is usually introduced with some quotation from the writings of the ancients and derives from it certain basic truths as applicable today as they were in ancient times. Not to be outdone by my predecessors, I, too, shall revert to the ancients for inspiration and shall take as my cue the signature of one of our professional ancestors whose true significance in medicine is still a matter of controversy. Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, otherwise and usually known as Paracelsus, remains today an enigma in scientific history, and the judgment, of the English-speaking peoples at least, has been, in general, unsympathetic to him.

The theme of my discourse is taken from his signature—Beider Artznei Doktor, or, Doctor of Both Medicines. He was among the

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