Tuesday, July 9, 2024

Quote of the Day (René Leriche, on the Patient’s ‘Contact With His Surgeon’)

"The individual on whom we operate is more than a physiological mechanism. He thinks, he fears, his body trembles if he lacks the comfort of a sympathetic face. For him nothing will replace the salutary contact with his surgeon, the exchange of looks, the feeling that the doctor has taken charge, with the certainty, at least apparent, of winning." —French surgeon René Leriche (1879-1955), Foreword to “La philosophie de la Chirurgie” (Philosophy of Surgery) (1951), translated by Roberta Hurwitz

The image accompanying this post comes from Calling Dr. Kildare (1939), the second of a nine-film MGM series starring Lew Ayres (far right) as the idealistic titular character in a big-city hospital.

Though these movies date back more than 80 years, it’s probably easier to find them (courtesy of TCM) than episodes of the 1961-66 NBC medical drama Dr. Kildare, with Richard Chamberlain in the role of the intern and Raymond Massey as his veteran surgeon mentor Dr. Gillespie. And the 24 episodes of the 1972-73 syndicated series Young Dr. Kildare might as well be on the endangered species list.

Nevertheless, Dr. Kildare (who began, incidentally, as a character in a 1936 short story by Max Brand, better known for creating Westerns), remains the ideal caring doctor that patients yearn for—the same kind that pioneering vascular surgeon and pain-management specialist René Leriche hailed, in the above quote.

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