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March 18, 1899


JAMA. 1899;XXXII(11):618-619. doi:10.1001/jama.1899.02450380048007

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Physicians to the Pope occupy an exceedingly difficult official position, requiring great dexterity, diplomacy and sagacity. The physicians to crowned heads have in comparison a comparatively easy position, the varied interests involved in the Pope's health lead to constant examination of the physician and demand from him the highest judgment and diplomacy. The vatican, moreover, contains a large, inquisitive population whose hopes vary with the health of the Pope. The salary of the position has been the same, it is said, for centuries—$600. This salary, relatively large centuries ago, considering the purchasing power of money, is now exceedingly unremunerative for the services rendered.

Probably the greatest medical man who occupied the position of physician to the Pope was the famed Paul Zacchias, who published what was the greatest contribution made to seventeenth century jurisprudence: his famous "Questions Medico-Legales." Zacchias was not a bookworm and collector of what had been done

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