Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 88
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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ailments of the Bonanza district. This disease has been familiar
among the people since time immemorial. There was, in short,
a vast amount of misinformation on the subject, and rich op-
portunity to put it to ill use. And so it went, all down the end-
less list of human infirmity. For each there was a potion, a rite,
In such situations, which I encountered at every other turn, I
fell back on the advice of Dr. McMurtry, my professor at the
Hospital School of Medicine. Since Dr. McMurtry was a gyne-
cologist, he had had years of intensive experience with female
"They have an affinity," he told me one day, "for young doc-
tors. Never imagine you can avoid them, instruct them, or hold
them at arm's length. If you defy them point-blank, your prac-
tice will melt like snow in a river. Therefore, my dear Atkinson,
always bear in mind that when the wind blows, the grass must
bend. Hear out their foolishness as if you were at Osler's feet.
Then ignore it quietly. Then, again, sometimes you will find, to
your amazement, that they are wiser than you. In that case, make
the most of it."
I clearly remember the first time I put Dr. McMurtry's
counsel to serious test. It was my first case of malaria. I arrived
to find the patient's elderly mother, two lady friends of her
generation, and the patient's husband at the bedside. My im-
pulse was to ask them to get out, but I caught myself in time.
My glance took in the bottles of quinine and calomel on the
dresser. In mournful counterpoint, which I could see concealed
more than a little zest, they offered me an unsolicited briefing.
Mrs. Wilson's son, the patient's mother explained, that very
morning had come over and announced that Mama was having
another awful chill. Mama had chills every year about this time.
When I looked at her tongue, I would find it coated. Swamp
fever, naturally, just what you'd expect in such an unhealthy
neighborhood and after so much rain. Last time Mama had taken
quinine and calomel and got herself cured right quick. So that's
Here’s what’s next.
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/100/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.