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In his life of Sir William Osler, the historian Michael Bliss wrote ‘To a modern biographer, searching for the feet of clay that make subjects credible, the remarkable unanimity of the sources is disconcerting’.1 The sources that Bliss referred to here included not only doctors who were almost as distinguished as Osler, like Harvey Cushing, but everyone else from medical students to cabinet ministers. Osler seems to have been one of those rare individuals who combined an astonishing level of professional achievement with personal warmth and kindness. It is hard if not impossible to disagree with his biographer’s overall judgement: ‘He …
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