“Though the doctors treated him, let his blood, and gave him medications to drink, he nevertheless recovered.”


 “A good physician treats the disease, the great physician treats the patient who has the disease.”

 - unknown

 (MIS-ATTRIBUTED DR. WILLIAM OSLER; may be derived from Moses Maimonides (Rambam)  in his Treatise on Asthma, arguing for a view of the patient as unique: “Any sick individual presents new problems. One can never say one disease is just like the other. A therapeutic axiom follows: ‘the physician should not treat the disease but the patient who is suffering from it’')

"Laws of the House of God, #13:  The delivery of good medical care is to do as much nothing as possible."

— Samuel Shem


"True professionals provide considered advice. And sometimes doing nothing is exactly the right thing to do. The same is true of medicine. Recognize that the doctor who advises no action may be the one who really cares for you."

— Dr. Gilbert H. Welch

"The physician treats with words; within the physician-patient social system, the patient is moved by fears and other sentiments, and these are modified by the physician's words and phrases. Physicians dispense not only medicines but words that influence medicines or, all by themselves, that affect the patient more than the medicine"

– Dr Morgan Martin

"It may seem a strange principle to enunciate as the very first requirement in a hospital that it should do the sick no harm."

– Florence Nightingale

"Unilaterally cutting cost won’t eliminate the inefficiencies, unnecessary procedures and avoidable burdens on the system. But if we work together with fresh thinking and strategically-smarter spending, we can recast into a more and humane and efficient health care system and the lower overall costs to governments will follow. "

— Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti


"Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn't organized to serve human health, but only itself, as an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals."

– Ivan Illich


"Our goal: Drive the Triple Aim, simultaneously improving the health of the population, enhancing the experience and outcomes of the patient, and reducing per capita cost of care for the benefit of communities."



"[The] physician, who, having just forbidden his cardiac patient indulgence in tobacco, alcohol and amorous intimacies, was asked by the victim, 'Tell me, doctor, if I give these things up, will I live longer?' to which his physician replied with charm and candor, 'No, but it'll seem longer.' "

– Bernard Meyer

(Pg 51, in his chapter “What Patient, What Truth?” in the book:  Standard, Samuel, and Helmuth Nathan. 1955. “Should the Patient Know the Truth:  A response of physicians, nurses, clergymen, and lawyers.” New York: Springer Publishing Company.

"Combating excess is a contemporary manifestation of a much older desire to avoid doing harm when we try to help or heal." 

– Dr. Fiona Godlee

“For many years, both physicians and patients have had a ‘more is better’ attitude. It is time to adopt a ‘think twice’ attitude and to avoid unnecessary and potentially harmful tests, procedures and treatment."

— Dr. Wendy Levinson


"Do as much as possible for the patient, and as little as possible to the patient."

– Dr Bernard Lown

“Medical science is making such remarkable progress that soon none of us will be well.” 

— Aldous Huxley


"It all starts by caring enough to engage the patient in the decision-making. Many people argue that 'We don't have time for this in the consultation. I'd rather just tell people what I think is best for them and then they can decide whether they want it or not.'
Well, that's not very caring. This might be efficient, but it does not reflect the best that we can offer."

– Dr. Victor Montori, on shared decision-making

"Physicians and patients need to work together to pursue care that improves health, avoids harms and eliminates wasteful practices"

– Dr. Amir Qaseem


"Best clinical decisions are at the heart of appropriate care, the goal to which our system should aspire."

— Dr. Anna Reid


“They’ve told us they’re suffering because of a lack of access to timely, effective care, confused by a system that is limited in the services it provides, that is cumbersome and almost too complex to navigate, and angered by a system that fails to put their needs first or even engage them about their health issues.”

— Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull


". . . the medical profession must demonstrate leadership in regaining that vision for the health care system that we were once proud of, one that serves all Canadians, one that provides timely, universal access to high quality, patient-centred care across the continuum of health. "

— Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull


"The availability of good medical care tends to vary inversely with the need for it in the population served."

– Julian Tudor Hart

"'The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."

– Voltaire


"I will follow that system of regimen which, according to my ability and judgment, I consider for the benefit of my patients, and abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous. "

– Hippocrates

"'Don't just do something; stand there!"

– Martin Gabel
- Malcolm Fisher (in the medical context)


“A surgeon is a doctor who can operate and who knows when not to.”

—Theodor Kocher [1841-1917] 


“The first duty of the physician is to educate the masses not to take medicine.”

 - Uknown

(probably misattributed to DR. WILLIAM OSLER)


"Often the best medicine is no medicine at all, or the best intervention is no intervention at all. But those conversations with patients that take that time to explain that the evidence simply doesn't support doing a test or prescribing a drug  - are long conversations and it's much easier in clinical practice to do things quickly and prescribe or order a test."

 - Robyn Ward, from the Medical Service Advisory Committee, in ABC Four Corners documentary, Wasted



"Medicine should probably be leaving the well to be well instead of constantly trying to find something wrong with them."


"Prevention is better than cure' is a terrible adage in a way, because it makes so much sort of obvious sense that no one really interrogates it properly. . . We have shifted a massive amount of resource within health services from the sick to the well, probably harming the well in the process, or at least some of them, and certainly harming the sick, because if you take resources, they have to come from somewhere."

- Dr Iona Heath, in ABC Catalyst program Too Much Medicine


"It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has."

- Unknown


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