A la recherche du temps perdu

15th July 2010 by Judith Harvey

I have just been clearing out – old textbooks, cuttings from Update and BMJ from the days before information could be stored electronically, even some old lecture notes (did I once know all that?).

Since I don’t recall my days as a clinical student with fondness, I was surprised while leafing through dog-eared volumes to experience a degree of nostalgia, though not strongly enough to put many books back on the shelf. However, a few escaped the cull.

I couldn’t bring myself to throw away my first Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine. The first edition came out just in time for my house-jobs, and it kept me sane and my patients safe. Well, safer. In those days the recto pages of Oxford handbooks were blank, for you to make your own notes. Invaluable for recording the sort of clinical gems which evidence-based medicine cannot reach. They were useful too for noting that consultant A wanted all patients admitted with diagnosis B to be put on drug C, whereas consultant D would tear you off a strip if he saw C on a patient’s drug chart.

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