- Project Runeberg -  The story of San Michele /
50

(1929) [MARC] Author: Axel Munthe - Tema: Medicine
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - IV. A Fashionable Doctor

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inspire confidence. What is confidence? Where
does it come from, from the head or from the
heart? Does it derive from the upper strata of
our mentality or is it a mighty tree of knowledge
of good and evil with roots springing from the
very depths of our being? Through what
channels does it communicate with others? Is it
visible in the eye, is it audible in the spoken word?
I do not know, I only know that it cannot be
acquired by book-reading, nor by the bed-side
of our patients. It is a magic gift granted by
birth-right to one man and denied to another.
The doctor who possesses this gift can almost
raise the dead. The doctor who does not possess
it will have to submit to the calling-in of a
colleague for consultation in a case of measles. I
soon discovered that this invaluable gift had been
granted to me by no merit of mine. I discovered
it in the nick of time, for I was beginning to
become conceited and very pleased with myself.
It made me understand how little I knew and
made me turn more and more to Mother Nature,
the wise old nurse, for advice and help. It might
even have made me become a good doctor in the
end, had I stuck to my hospital work and to my
poor patients. But I lost all my chances, for I
became a fashionable doctor instead. If you
come across a fashionable doctor, watch him
carefully at a safe distance before handing yourself
over to him. He may be a good doctor, but in
very many cases he is not. First, because as a
rule he is far too busy to listen with patience
to your long story. Secondly, because he is
inevitably liable to become a snob, if he is not

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