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Synopsis: Kipling's "If" is arguably the most popular poem of all time in Britain. Osler is considered the "Father of Modern Medicine" and is unique in history in that he touted the importance of the humanities in the practice of medicine. The virtues in Kipling's "If" are further illustrated by the writings of William Osler and the writers he loved. As the reader will see, these virtues are as relevant today in modern medicine as they were centuries ago.

From the Author: My mother, a single parent of five boys, loved Rudyard Kipling and in particular the poem "If." When the occasion arose, she would quote a particular stanza as a teachable moment. Her favorite part of the poem were the first and last verses:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
 
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Then yours is the earth and all that's in it,
And -which is more- you'll be a man my son!


Just as Kipling is considered one of the most influential writers in history, William Osler is considered the father of Modern Medicine. What makes Osler unique as a physician is his love of the humanities and his voluminous writings. The most famous of which was Aequanimitas, latin for equanimity.  Years ago I had the poem calligraphed, framed and changed the title to "If for Clay, Bess, and Sam." My children are no longer living at home but one day I was in my son's old room and stood in front of the poem reminiscing about my mother, my childhood and my children. It was then I noted the similarities between the virtues in "If" to the writings of Osler. This then began the process of identifying the virtues in "If" and then illustrating them with the writings and aphorisms of Osler. In addition there are quotes from writers Osler loved.

Finally, in my career of thirty years I have seen dramatic changes in the practice of medicine. Just as Osler felt the human side of medicine was important at the turn of the century, it is even more so now. It is hoped that this book will serve as a primer to stimulate interest in two very important historical figures, but as well to put the importance of practicing virtues back into the practice of medicine.

"The good physician treats the disease, the great physician treats the patient that has the disease."-Osler

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