Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Thomas Sydenham's advice to medical students in 1668 deserves more attention today

Thomas Sydenham, a man of deep Christian faith who many regard as the father of English medicine, said the following in his advice to medical students in 1668:

‘Whoever applies himself to medicine should seriously weigh the following considerations:

First, that he will one day have to render an account to the supreme Judge of the lives of sick persons committed to his care.

Next, whatever skill or knowledge he may, by divine favour, become possessed of, should be devoted above all things to the glory of God and the welfare of the human race.

Thirdly, he must remember that is no mean or ignoble creature that he deals with. We may ascertaining the worth of the human race since for its sake Gods’ only begotten Son became man and thereby ennobled the nature that he took upon him.

Finally the physician should bear in mind that he himself is not exempt from the common lot but is subject to the same laws of mortality and disease as his fellows and he will care for the sick with more diligence and tenderness if he remembers that he himself is their fellow sufferer’.

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