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Honoring a Pioneer: William Osler, M.D.

"The good physician treats the disease; the great physician treats the patient who has the disease." These words were spoken by William Osler, M.D., a pathologist, physician, educator, bibliophile, historian, author, practical joker - and the subject of today's post. William Osler, M.D. was born in Ontario, Canada in 1849. He received his M.D. degree from McGill University in Montreal, and like many of his contemporary Canadian physicians, Osler went abroad for postgraduate study. Those studies took him to London, Berlin, and Vienna before he returned in 1874 to join the medical faculty at McGill University. In 1883, William Osler, M.D. was elected as one of only two Canadian fellows of the British Royal College of Physicians, and shortly after, he left Montreal to become a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Four years later, Dr. Osler became one of the "Big Four" founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital as the first Professor of Medicine and creator of the first residency program for specialty training of physicians. During his time at Johns Hopkins, William Osler, M.D. revolutionized the medical curriculum of the United States and Canada, combining English and German systems. He was known for saying, "He who studies medicine without books sails an uncharted sea, but he who studies medicine without patients does not go to sea at all." A strong advocator of patient-centric medicine, he was the first professor to bring medical students out of the lecture hall and into a clinical setting. He believed that students learned best by doing and that clinical instruction should begin and end with the patient. A man who dealt with death with a pinch of humor, Dr. Osler moonlighted under the pseudonym of 'Egerton Yorrick Davis', and even had a report published by the Philadelphia Medical News on the imaginary phenomenon of penis captivus, the details of which I won't explain but which illustrate the Puck-like alter ego of this esteemed medical professional. His book, The Principles and Practice of Medicine, published in 1892, compiled his methods and theories, and remained the standard text on clinical medicine for over forty years. In 1905 he accepted the Regius Professorship of Medicine at Oxford University, which was, at that time, one of the most prestigious medical appointments in the world. He remained at Oxford until his death in 1919. We chose to honor William Osler, M.D. with our own traditional and professional Medelita Men's Osler lab coat. Designed to resemble a men's suit jacket with a traditional collar and blazer pocket, the 44? length Osler lab coat is the height of distinguished professionalism - a perfect addition to a 'Captain' sailing the charted (and uncharted) seas of a medical world. The Medelita Men's Osler lab coat features five pockets, finished inside seams, and a tailored, blazer-like fit. The Osler lab coat also boasts breathable, 100% cotton pre-shrunk DuPont™ certified performance fabric that repels fluid, soil, and stains – including blood - while helping to maintain the bright white coat color that signifies prestige and professionalism. As a man who placed a great deal of importance on the role of doctor and patient interaction, we'd like to think that William Osler, MD would be honored by the tribute of a lab coat that presents a professional image to patients and peers alike. Learn more about the Osler lab coat.