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date: 29 June 2022

p. 51. Medicine at the bedsidelocked

p. 51. Medicine at the bedsidelocked

  • William Bynum


‘Medicine at the bedside’ examines the origins of Western medicine in ancient Greece, as relayed by the writings of Hippocrates, and the legacy of Hippocratic medicine. The approach was entirely holistic, based upon a thorough examination of the patient's social, economic and familial circumstances, as well as his diet and tendencies to disease. There was little emphasis on anatomy and the Greeks did not dissect bodies. They used a system of four humours — blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm — in diagnosis and treatment. This system was then transmitted to Western Europe and expanded through the writings of Galen, who came to dominate medical thinking for more than a millennium.

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