n South African Journal of Surgery - Eponymous yet anonymous : letter to the editor

Volume 47, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Of all professions, medicine must be the one possessed of the most numerous eponyms. Yet, from student to specialist alike, ignorance abounds of the great men and women of the past, and the discoveries, procedures and instruments to which they have given their names. In addition to books on the history of medicine, I am fortunate indeed to possess the sixth edition of Hamilton Bailey's Emergency Surgery printed in 1953. The magnificent use of the English language aside, the text is replete with hints, useful suggestions, and tips not based on the science, but the art, of medicine. Perhaps therein lies the root of historical indifference. We are science-driven, everything must be evidence-based, there is no room in the modern medical arena for gut feeling and instinct; a situation recently regarded as a regime of truth and an example of microfascism.

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