1848 The Lancet  
THE number of Frase?s Magazine for February contains an article, entitled," A Plea for Physicians"-the vulgarity of which, as an attack on the respectability and acquirements of the general practitioners of this country, has rarely been equalled. It is a kind of requiem for the dethroned physician, which the writer imagines to belong to a species which must speedily become extinct; and a gross libel on the general practitioner, who, our author imagines, is destined to step into his place. On
more » ... part of the physician, the writer assumes two cases. The first is that of the son of a country gentleman, who is kept at school till eighteen, and then sent for four years to Edinburgh, at an expense of £ 150 a year. He then graduates, and subsequently spends twelve months as house-physician in an hospital. On the completion of this term, he goes abroad, and spends two years in visiting the principal medical schools of the Continent. He then returns home to practise, fully qualified, having continued seven years in his education, at the cost of above a thousand pounds. Our author's doctor settles in the country town, where he has to compete with three other physicians,-one of the old school, 11 the good old stock;" the second is the remains of "a hook-nosed regimental surgeon," who has obtained a degree "somehow or other;" the third is an apothecary's apprentice from the Potteries, who managed to get a Heidelberg degree, and by " luck or impudence" has monopolized the best part of the physician's practice. There are a dozen general practitioners in the town, who, of course, aid and abet the luck and impudence of the Heidelberg impostor ! The Edinburgh hero settles, and for the first fifteen years does not get fees sufficient to equal five per cent. per annum on the £ 1000 he has expended on his education. He gradually sinks into a broken-down man, treated with contumely by the ignorant general practitioners whom he sometimes meets in consultation, and is very careful in advising his friends not to bring up their sons as phy--simians. This is one episode, full of absurdity and ignorance of medical matters, but rational and just as compared with the next.
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)78740-0 fatcat:mjtpwrsy4vd5lcocpvqnffcyom