We cannot say who the first doctor was because he is "an unknown hero of civilization." Perhaps he lived in Europe or in Africa; he may have been a medicine man or a priest; he may have been his own first patient. What we do know is that Hippocrates was not the earliest doctor. There were several Egyptian doctors long before him. This would place Hippocrates at the halfway point between Imhotep, who is believed to have lived in 3000 BC., and Dr. Jonas Salk.
Robert Silverberg has prepared a careful personality characterization of some of the most important doctors who have made history in the past and some of the doctors who are exceptional in the medical profession at the present time. Included are the life stories and medical accomplishments of Lister, Harvey, Fleming, Jenner, Cushing, Salk, Sabin, and others. Direct quotations from the doctors are included as well as quotes about them from prominent people of their times.
Some diseases which were thought insurmountable centuries ago are today solved by trips to the doctor's office for some type of immunization or therapy. The story of medicine has no end, and there will always be new doctors to take their place with Hippocrates and the other great doctors as long as there is disease and death for medical research to combat. Perhaps the young readers of today will be among those credited with providing knowledge toward the cure of cancer and heart disease, only two of our greatest life takers.
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