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"Osler's Bedside Library: Great Writers Who Inspired a Great Physician" is an Introduction to the World's Great Literature for Physicians

Excerpts from 30 literary masters plus commentaries by leaders in medical humanities who discuss why Osler would have admired and recommended them

PHILADELPHIA, October 12, 2009 -- Regarded by many as the father of modern medicine, Sir William Osler was also a voracious reader and an avid collector of books. He recommended that physicians not be satisfied solely with their professional medical training.

"[T]ry to get the education, if not of a scholar, at least of a gentleman," Osler advised. "Before going to sleep read for half an hour, and in the morning have a book open on your dressing table. You will be surprised to find how much can be accomplished in the course of a year."

Co-editors Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, and David J. Elpern, MD, have made that advice easier with "Osler's Bedside Library: Great Writers Who Inspired a Great Physician" (American College of Physicians, 2009). The volume is an introduction to the world's great literature for physicians, featuring excerpts from 30 literary masters, many of whom Osler himself considered favorites. Each selection includes commentary by a leader in medical humanities who discusses why Osler would have admired and recommended it.

The first such volume of its nature in that it contains excerpts from pre-1913 texts that Osler had in his library, "Osler's Bedside Library" highlights the 10 books and literary masters that the celebrated physician called his "bedside library for medical students": Plutarch's Lives; Religio Medici; Shakespeare's Othello, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, and Sonnets; Montaigne; Marcus Aurelius; Epictetus; Don Quixote; Emerson; Oliver Wendell Holmes; and the Bible.

To further supplement Osler's guidance, the editors have included excerpts from 20 other great works of literature from two poets, seven consummate storytellers, six philosophers, three dramatists, one compelling journal, and a legendary physician.

"Osler often referred to his bedside library's classic works as a guide to our 'inner education' -- inspiring one to be a great doctor with even greater humanity," said Dr. LaCombe.

"Osler's Bedside Library: Great Writers Who Inspired a Great Physician" can be ordered online at www.acponline.org/acppress. The book is also available at all major booksellers, both in stores and online, and electronically at www.acppress-ebooks.com. To order by phone, call 800-523-1546, ext 2600 (M-F, 9:00 a.m.-5 p.m. ET).

About the Editors

Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP, is a writer who has practiced internal medicine and cardiology for over 30 years in rural Maine. He is editor of "On Being a Doctor," first and second editions, and is co-editor of "The Last Half Hour of the Day: An Anthology of Stories and Essays That Have Inspired Physicians," "In Whatever Houses We May Visit: An Anthology of Poems That Have Inspired Physicians," and "On Being a Doctor 3."

David J. Elpern, MD, is a dermatologist who has practiced on Kauai, Hawaii, and in Williamstown, Massachusetts. He is a co-founder of the teledermatology service Virtual Grand Rounds in Dermatology. While in Hawaii, he started The Kauai Foundation for Continuing Education and more recently, with colleagues, the humanities related organizations Dermanities and Cell 2 Soul. He has consulted Dr. Osler's teachings for over twenty years.

About the American College of Physicians

The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization and the second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 129,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection, and treatment of illness in adults. Follow ACP on Twitter and Facebook.

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