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September 1988

Austin Flint—America's Laennec Revisited

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Medicine, University of Massachusetts School of Medicine, Worcester, and the University Health Services, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Arch Intern Med. 1988;148(9):2053-2056. doi:10.1001/archinte.1988.00380090113026

Austin Flint, Sr, was one of the great physicians of 19th century American medicine. He was held in high praise by his colleagues both in this country and abroad. Sir William Osler called him "the Nestor of clinical medicine in this country."1(p3) Osler noted that "he was the author of an essay, one of the most classical in American medical literature, On the Self Limitation of Disease. He laid down there that a cardinal principle in the consideration of the therapeutics of a disease was knowledge of its natural history."2 Osler told his students "not one of you who takes a stethoscope into his hand but is a debtor to Dr. Flint for simplifying much that was complicated in the auscultation of the heart and lung."3 William Henry Welch, who was Flint's colleague at Bellevue Hospital, New York, noted that Flint was "the author of the textbook

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