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August 1958

The Quicksilver Doctor.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1958;102(2):331-332. doi:10.1001/archinte.1958.00260200159013

Ever since I read William Osler's essay about "Thomas Dover, Physician and Buccaneer," I have been fascinated with the thought that at least one physician was a real pirate. Many have been accused, but few, chosen. Dewhurst emphasizes an important distinction I was not fully aware of between a buccaneer and a privateer. The buccaneer or pirate took as his prize any ship or person, being outside the law, without commission and without regard for nationality. The privateer operated under commission of his country as an agent against the shipping of his country's enemies. Dewhurst also tells us that the word buccaneer was derived from the word boucan, a process of jerking meat over a smoky fire practiced by the natives of the Caribbees. His book is packed with all kinds of miscellaneous information, giving, by the bye, a really excellent view of the the deplorable condition of medicine at

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