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Sunday, 26 October 2014


The first known doctor was Imhotep (c. 2650–2600 BC);, an Egyptian physician and adviser to King Zoser. Such was his knowledge of medicine, stories were told giving him a divine status and after he died his tomb became a center of healing.

Other Egyptian doctors prayed to Imhotep as they treated their patients in the belief that he would intervene to help the healing process.

The Egyptian priest-physicians specialized in using certain herbs and drugs to combat sicknesses. They were split into two groups, those who visit the sick and those who prepare the remedies.

Within these two groups of Egyptian priest-physicians there were many different types of experts, each of whom treated a particular part of the body. Among the many different types of specialists were experts in diseases of the brain, the eye, the heart and teeth, but there were no general practitioners.

Maimonides (1135-December 12, 1204) was a famous Jewish Physician and Philosopher. His 13 volume Torah and 13 Articles of Faith are adhered to by Orthodox Jews to this day.

18th-century portrait of Maimonides

Many of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II's (1194 – 1250) laws continue to affect life down to the present day, such as the prohibition on physicians acting as their own pharmacists. This was a blow at the charlatanism under which physicians diagnosed dubious maladies and also at the same time in order to sell a useless, even dangerous "cure".

Physicians treating patients struck with the plague in the mid 14th century wore an outfit that includes a large beaked head piece. The beak of the head piece was filled with a selection of strong smelling items such as vinegar and sweet oils to counteract the awful stench emitting from the plague victims.

In mid-17th century Britain the medical profession was controlled by the arrogant and authoritarian College of Physicians whose members practiced medicine as taught by Galen. All their procedures were in Latin and the prescriptions the physicians wrote out were often unclear and illegible. Sicknesses were frequently diagnosed solely by a visual inspection of the patient's urine, often without seeing the patient.

Fifty years before women were allowed to enroll into medical school, Margaret Ann Bulkley (c. 1789-1799 – July 25, 1865) dressed as a man for 56 years to study medicine and become her alter-ego, Dr James Barry. It was only when she died in 1865 that her secret was exposed after 46 years working as an army medical officer in India and Cape Town, South Africa.

On January 23, 1849 Elizabeth Blackwell (below) became the first woman to qualify as a doctor of medicine in America when she was awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York.

When Elizabeth Blackwell applied to Geneva Medical College in Geneva, New York State, it was originally thought her application was a student prank by a rival college and was accepted in like spirit. Honorably, they kept to their commitment even though the acceptance provoked much criticism. Ignoring all the ridicule Elizabeth pursued her studies and graduated at the top of her class.

Pulney Andy became the first Indian to receive a British medical degree when he received his degree of Doctor of Medicine from the University of St. Andrews in 1860.

Eduard Bloch was the Jewish doctor of the Hitler family who treated Hitler's mother before her death in 1907. Hitler granted him his "everlasting gratitude" and called him "noble Jew". He was put under special protection by the Gestapo until he could move to America in 1940.

In 2013 the British NHS employed 371,777 qualified nursing staff and 147,087 doctors.

There is a commonly held assumption that the first Wednesday of August is an unsafe day to be admitted to hospital in England. This is because that is the date when the new cohort of junior doctors begin working in the NHS after graduating medical school. Patients are about 6% more likely to die on the first Wednesday of August than on other days.

A law in India mandates that doctors write prescriptions in CAPITAL LETTERS in a 'Legible' writing as a measure to prevent deaths caused by the misinterpretation of their sloppy handwriting.

The country with most doctors per capita is San Marino with 5.1 doctors per 1,000 people.

The most common last name among American physicians is no longer "Smith", it's "Patel".

The fear of doctors is called iatrophobia.

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