Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Peter Mere Latham

English Medical Educator

"We should always presume the disease to be curable, until its own nature prove it otherwise."

"Unfortunately, where there is no experiment of exact science to settle the matter, it takes as much time and trouble to pull down a falsehood as to build up a truth. "

"Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents."

"The practice of physic is jostled by quacks on the one side, and by science on the other. "

"Medicine is a strange mixture of speculation and action. We have to cultivate a science and to exercise an art. The calls of science are upon our leisure and our choice the calls of practice are of daily emergence and necessity."

"It would be a great thing to understand Pain in all its meanings."

"There are things which will not be defined, and Fever is one of them. Besides, when a word had passed into everyday use, it is too late to lay a logical trap for its meaning, and think to apprehend it by a definition."

"Fortunate indeed, is the man who takes exactly the right measure of himself, and holds a just balance between what he can acquire and what he can use."

"Faith and knowledge lean largely upon each other in the practice of medicine."

"There is nothing so captivating as new knowledge."

"The diagnosis of disease is often easy, often difficult, and often impossible."

"It is no easy task to pick one's way from truth to truth through besetting errors."

"Beware of language, for it is often a great cheat."

"Truth in all its kinds is most difficult to win; and truth in medicine is the most difficult of all."

"It is the great mystery of life itself which is at the bottom of all the mysterious language we are obliged to employ concerning it."

"People in general have no notion of the sort and amount of evidence often needed to prove the simplest matter of fact."

"How is it that in medicine Truth is thus measured out to us in fragments, and we are never put in trust of it as a whole."

"It takes as much time and trouble to pull down a falsehood as to build up a truth."

"Perfect health, like perfect beauty, is a rare thing; and so, it seems, is perfect disease."

"Common sense is in medicine the master workman."

"Fortunate, indeed, is the man who takes exactly the right measure of himself, and holds a just balance between what he can acquire and what he can use, be it great or be it small!"