“It has been said that ‘in patience ye shall win your souls,’ and what is this patience but an equanimity which enables you to rise superior to the trials of life?”
– William Osler, from Aequanimitas, in Aequanimitas.

The title of this page, Aequanimitas, gives due reverence to the great hero of modern clinical medicine, Sir William Osler. Osler enthusiastically encouraged his medical colleagues to embrace interests outside of the profession to protect, preserve and promote their ability to maintain their equanimity despite the daily struggles of being a doctor.

“The young doctor should look about early for an avocation, a pastime, that will take him away from patients, pills, and potions…”
– William Osler, from The Medical Library in Post-graduate Work, BMJ 1909;2:925-8.

Osler gave particular emphasis to interests in the sciences and the humanities.

“While medicine is to be your vocation, or calling, see to it that you have also an avocation – some intellectual pastime which may serve to keep you in touch with the world of art, of science, or of letters.”
– William Osler, from After Twenty-Five Years, in Aequanimitas.

This section of ‘Life in the Fast Lane’ is a concoction of thoughts, stories and anecdotes from our experiences in medicine and on its fringes (truth mixed with fiction to protect the innocent). Added to the mix are posts from the intersection of medicine with the sciences, the arts and literature, history, politics and philosophy.

Sandnsurf’s Medical Musings

“But whatever you do, take neither yourselves nor your fellow-creatures too seriously. There is tragedy enough in our daily routine, but there is room too for a keen sense of the absurdities and incongruities of life, and in the shifting panorama no one sees better than the doctor the perennial sameness of men’s ways.”
– Sir William Osler, from The Reserves of Life. ST. MARY’S HOSP GAZ 1907;13:95-8.

Precordialthump’s Aesculapian Experiences

“One special advantage of the skeptical attitude of mind is that a man is never vexed to find that after all he has been in the wrong.”
– Sir William Osler, from The Treatment of Disease Can Lancet 1909;42:899-912.

Poetry & Medicine

“Nothing will sustain you more potently than the power to recognize in your humdrum routine, as perhaps it may be thought, the true poetry of life – the poetry of the commonplace, of the plain, toil-worn woman, with their loves and their joys, their sorrows and their griefs.”
– William Osler, from The Student Life, in Aequanimitas.

History, Biography & Medicine

“It helps a man immensely to be a bit of a hero-worshipper, and the stories of the lives of the masters of medicine do much to stimulate our ambition and rouse our sympathies”
– Sir William Osler, from Chauvanism in Medicine, in Aequanimitas.


“I desire no other epitaph… than the statement that I taught medical students in the wards, as I regard this as by far the most useful and important work I have been called upon to do.”
– Sir William Osler, from The Fixed Period, in Aequanimitas.

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