Enjoy our regular contributor Margaret Chisolm's fun exploration of all things Olser.
I recently read a commentary on “why Osler is still important” written by Drs. Thomas and Hilson, both former Presidents of The Osler Club of London, an organization of which I was previously unaware. I was immediately intrigued, although reminded of Groucho Marx’s admonition, as recounted in his 1959 memoir Groucho and Me,: “I don’t want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.”
Thomas and Hilson’s brief commentary itself is worth reading, including such pearls as:
[Osler] was a firm believer that medicine was a practical discipline and could not be learned from books. He was at his best at the bedside teaching students, and stated that he wanted his epitaph to be that he taught medical students on the wards. In his own words: ‘The hardest conviction to get into the mind of a beginner is that the education upon which he is engaged is not a college course, not a medical course, but a life course, for which the work of a few years under teachers is but a preparation.’
But, for those who enjoy “The Crown” and all things English, I recommend a visit to The Osler Club of London’s website.
There you will learn that The Club was founded in the late 1920s by a group of Oxbridge and London trained doctors who “wanted to pursue the clinical, historical, moral and ethical principles that contributed to the performance of a ‘good doctor,’” embodied by Sir William Osler. And you will be treated to the Osler’s Coat of Arms, reproduced above, as well as other examples of what is referred to as “Osleriana,” including many of Osler’s now-familiar aphorisms and the new-to-me “Osler Grace” credited to JR Heron (1997):
“Truth in the science
Skill in the art
Compassion in the practice
Fellowship in the heart
Aequanimitas when we dine/come together
Aequanimitas when we depart”
Most delightful, however, is the discovery of a recipe for Osler’s Punch. “Prescribed for the Society in Oxford by D.A.Abernethy in 1921,” the eponymous punch features equal parts Tarragona wine, rum, and whiskey or gin, and is reportedly “served at winter meetings of the Osler Club of London in the Thomas Cotton Room from 6:30 pm.”
I now take back what I said about not wanting to belong to any club that will accept me as a member. I am eagerly awaiting word of my acceptance, not only so I may sample the Osler’s Punch, but to access the “Members’ Area” of the website so I can read the “Dalyrymple Oration.”