By the turn of the century, Osler was probably the best-known physician in the English-speaking world. He achieved this position with a combination of superb practice, excellent and innovative teaching, wide-ranging publication, and association with outstanding colleagues in the most advanced school of its time, Johns Hopkins. His professional interests were unusually wide, but he was particularly expert in diagnosis of diseases of the heart, lungs and blood. His textbook, The Principles and Practice of Medicine, first published in 1892 and frequently revised, was considered authoritative for more than 40 years. His description of the inadequacy of treatment methods for most disorders was a major factor leading to the creation of the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in New York City.
Osler was an outgoing, vivacious man given to practical jokes and pranks. He knew how to dispel gloom in the sickroom and how to inspire his patients with hope. He advocated changes in the medical curriculum to decrease the amount of lecturing and increase the time students spent with patients. He was one of those who formalized the methods of postgraduate training for physicians, helping to create the system being followed today. Osler married at age 42, his wife being a direct descendant of Paul Revere. One of their 2 children died at birth, the other in WWI. In 1905 the family left North America for Great Britain, where Osler became Regius professor of medicine at Oxford. The recipient of many honorary degrees, he was created a baronet in 1911. His last years were spent carrying on a busy consultant's practice, writing, teaching and building up his extensive library in the history of medicine, which eventually was bequeathed to McGill. In 1919 Osler died of pneumonia developed after a lengthy trip of consultation. His ashes rest in the Osler Library, Montréal. He is still much quoted and his life remains an exemplar for students and physicians.
Author CHARLES G. ROLAND
Links to Other Sites
Sir William Osler
A profile of the distinguished doctor and educator Sir William Osler. From the Virtual Museum of Canada and the Canadian Medical Hall Of Fame.
Healing Power of Plants
Learn about some of the plant-based tonics, traditional remedies, and patent medicines popular with Canadians in years past. See "Canadian Case Studies" in the "Past Remedies" section for related information about famous Canadian historical figures. From the Virtual Museum of Canada.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...