IN HIS lifetime William Osler probably exerted a wider influence on his contemporaries in medicine than any other man of his generation, and now, when physicians of America, Canada and Britain are celebrating the centenary of his birth, one must ask oneself why it was that Osler came to have such an enormous following. His discoveries were few—in the sphere of new knowledge, the blood platelets and several obscure clinical syndromes are all that can really be credited to him—and he had the doubtful distinction of having written a highly successful textbook, which has now passed through eighty-four printings. Actually, his major contributions were twofold. The dedication of Harvey Cushing's "Life" 1 succinctly points out the first of these:
TO MEDICAL STUDENTS
in the hope that something of Osler's spirit may be conveyed to those of a generation that has not known him; and particularly to those in
FULTON JF. WILLIAM OSLER, THE HUMANIST. Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1949;84(1):149–158. doi:10.1001/archinte.1949.00230010159025
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