Pithy Sayings


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According to your medical records, you're an engineer. We classify that as a disease now.
[From a Dilbert cartoon by Scott Adams, 2011]

Oral Rehydration Therapy: Give the child a drink made with 6 level teaspoons of sugar and ½ level teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 litre of clean water. Be very careful to mix the correct amounts. Too much sugar can make the diarrhoea worse. Too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child. Making the mixture a little too diluted (with more than 1 litre of clean water) is not harmful.
[Recipe taken from http://rehydrate.org/]

If you'd told our ancestors 200 years ago that the poorest people in society would also be the fattest, they would have been unable to work out how.
[From Grumpy Old Men by Stuart Prebble, 2004]

At least Rockefeller built institutions! The Gates Foundation just leaves chaos.
[An Indian research worker at a 2012 workshop, quoted in No Such Thing as a Free Gift by Linsey McGoey, 2015]

If my heart stops, Doctor, just let me go. There are worse states than death.
[A patient, quoted in Modern Death by Haider Warraich, M.D., 2017]

When it comes to themselves, doctors certainly don't consider death the worst possible outcome. In fact, the vast majority of physicians value the quality of their life far more than the length of their life. This is reflected in the fact that physicians rarely want to have CPR [Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation] performed on them if the need arises. ... Certainly when it comes to themselves, physicians prefer a swift death to protracted dying.
[From Modern Death by Haider Warraich, M.D., 2017]

Thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, the suffering, humiliation, and loneliness of a human being can now be extended for years.
[From Emergency by Neil Strauss, 2009]

Vegetarianism is harmless enough, though it's apt to fill a man with wind and self-righteousness.
[Robert Hutchison, former president of the Royal College of Physcians, quoted in Snobbery by Joseph Epstein, 2002]

If homeopathy is correct, much of physics, chemistry and pharmacology must be incorrect.
[From "Should we maintain an open mind about homeopathy?" by Michael Baum and Edzard Ernst, in American Journal of Medicine, Volume 122, Issue 11, November 2009, pages 973 to 974]

Primum non nocere
First, do no harm
[From "Of the Epidemics", Book I, Section II.5 by Hippocrates, 430 BC, quoted in Stand Out of Our Light by James Williams, 2018]

A drug is neither moral or immoral - it's a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats it as if consumption bestowed a temporary licence to act like an asshole.
[Frank Zappa, quoted in Opium by Martin Booth, 1996]

When you have a junk [heroin] habit ... you live in a state of chronic poisoning for which junk itself is the specific antidote. If you don't get the antidote at eight-hour intervals, and enough of it, you develop symptoms of allergic poisoning: yawning, sneezing, watering of the eyes and nose, cramps, vomiting and diarrhea, hot and cold flushes, loss of appetite, insomnia, restlessness and weakness. In some cases circulatory collapse and death from allergic shock. ... Junk is not, like alcohol or weed, a means to increased enjoyment of life. Junk is not a kick. It is a way of life.
[From Junky by William S. Burroughs, 1953]

Psychedelic drugs cause panic and temporary insanity in people who have not taken them.
[Timothy Leary, quoted in Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, 1979]

Nothing infallibly distinguishes hallucinations and delusions from perceptions and thoughts. ... There is no objective, given world to be copied by our minds correctly or incorrectly. How we perceive things depends on the needs our perception serves.
[From Psychedelic Drugs Reconsidered by Lester Grinspoon and James B. Bakalar, 1979]

From a profit standpoint, it makes sense to treat the healthy. They live longer, so they will depend on the product for much longer than a patient who is ill.
[From The Rise of Viagra by Meika Loe, 2004]

Only psychotics are not neurotic.
[From Now and Then: From Coney Island to Here by Joseph Heller, 1998]

Being normal in the world today consists in having the neuroses that most other people have. A truer, more realistic adjustment is worth trying for.
[From Classic American Graffiti by Allen Walker Read, 1935]

The more Polly read and studied Gus, the more convinved she became that the only thing wrong with him was that he was spending $25 a week going to a psychoanalyst. And she asked herself whether that could be a disease, a form of hypochondria, and whether you would have to go to an analyst to be cured of it.
[From The Group by Mary McCarthy, 1954]

If one goes crazy enough, even sanity – normally so gruesome – becomes bearable after a while.
[From The Tao is Silent by Raymond M Smullyan, 1977]

If science eliminated these genes [for autism, manic depression, and schizophrenia], maybe the whole world would be taken over by accountants.
[Temple Grandin, in a 1990 article]

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