Bull Med Suisses. 2020;101(39):1244

Dr. med., Facharzt für Allgemeine Innere Medizin, Mitglied FMH, Zürich

Publié le 22.09.2020

The most impressive description of the medical profession wrote the best-known Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894). Being ill from his childhood, he was surrounded by doctors and medical students. Later, in his adolescence he suffered of tuberculosis relapses. For that reason, he has traveled around the world searching for a curative climate and died aged of forty-four at the island of Samoa.
During his short time permanence in “Chalet de Solitude” in Davos, he enjoyed almost complete happiness and exclaimed: “I have so many things to make life sweet for me, but it seems a pity I cannot have that other one thing – the health.” Maybe it was the reason, that he wrote the most suitable and poignant thoughts on the medical profession.
“There are human beings which stand above the common herd: the physicians. The physician is the flower (such as it is) of our civilization. When that stage of man is done with, and is only one to be marveled at in the history. Generosity he has, such as is possible to those who practice an art, discretion, tested by a hundred secret­s; tact, tried in a thousand embarrassments; and what are more important, optimism and courage. The physician brings air and hopefulness into the sick room, and often enough, though not as often as he wish­es, brings healing.”

Author’s note

“The physician is the flower (such as it is) of our civilization.” It inspired the Author to choose “Hibiscus in blossom” to illustrate this text. Hibiscus is known in the folk medicine, because of its medical indications. Hibiscus has a high concentration of vitamin C and is used for the treatment of the flu and circulatory prob­lems.
The Island of Kos, where Hippocrates lived, is overwhelmed with the plants of hibiscus. My hypothesis is, that “The father of med­icine” had used hibiscus for his treatments. However, it is an educated guess.
Dr. med. André Simon
Allgemeine Innere Medizin
Dörflistrasse 14 
CH-8057 Zürich