Today is the Birthday of one of the greatest Physician Philosopher the humanity has produced: AVICENNA or IBN SENA who influenced medical practice for about 600 years in the Middle East and in the west. His classical text book was used in medical schools of France as late as the 17th century even though they were written in the 11th century of the Common Era.
Islamic Golden Age in Iran produced Avicenna and the Islamic Golden age in Spain produced the greatest Jewish Philosopher Physician, Maimonides, Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon.
Avicenna was born and lived in various parts of the Persian Empire of his time. He wrote extensively on various subjects and was considered the greatest polymath of the Iranian Islamic Golden Age.
One thinks of the greatest Hindou physicians of the 6th Century BCE, Sushruta and Samhita who wrote extensively and some of which is still in use! as they are considered the fathers of Ayurvedic Medicine..
As a student of Medicine, I not only admired the greatest physicians of the past but also the physicians of our own time and it was always good to talk to doctors from various countries who remembered fantastic teachers who influenced them when they were students or in training..
From the Southern African student colleagues I heard about Michael Gelfand of Salisbury and Leo Schamroth of Baragwanath Hospital, both legends in their times. Many doctors had entered politics in the British Colony of Rhodesia including Roy Welensky who became the second PM, the first PM was also a Doctor, Lord Malvern. I treasure a second hand copy of Sir Michael's book and always wanted to master the ECGs as delineated so clearly in Leo Schamroth's book, which I also have an old copy of.
England is and was so full of giants of clinical medicine, as a student I would now and then listen to some of them at various lecture theatres at the different medical schools; Sir Roger Bannister at Queens Square, Dr Simon the deaf Radiologist at Brompton, the incomparable D Geraint James.. always felt grateful that I had listened to them. I was so enamored with the history of Medicine that I attended a series of courses at the Wellcome Institute, given by the erudite Roy Porter...I loved to read The Acute Abdomen by Sir Zachary Cope, always carried a copy of Hutchinson's Clinical Methods..
in Australia, we have had our share of giants, and the first name that comes is that of Prof. L still active in Medical Practice and research.. In Cuba, every one to this day remembers fondly of Prof San Martin and I clearly remember the heavily accented words of the cuban professor of mine at Miami, Dr Ferrero.. I think of him often.
I remember the words of the retiring Cuban Ambassador to Laos: I can honestly say that I have lived through a most interesting time in the history of my country. I would say: I am glad to have learned the history of Medicine, from Sushruta to Prof L and also to the individual histories of my friends who provide excellent medical care all around the world.. three of whom I hope to see in October in Berlin, Dr A from Cairns and Dr R and Dr L from Auckland..
On this Doctors day celebrated around many parts of the world.. I have to be grateful for the assistance and guidance of so many doctors.. Dr L, Dr PG Dr ER, Dr LF, Dr JH all from U of Miami School of Medicine, Dr TJM in Melbourne and Dr DG in Brisbane.. and a Kaddish for Dr Cecil Helman, a doctor and an anthropologist ..