I just teach them tricks

This is supported by the recollections of some of Beecher’s former colleagues. Louis Lasagna, Beecher’s junior colleague in the early 1950s, noted, “ … we were so ethically insensitive that it never occurred to us that you ought to level with people that they were in an experiment” (43).

From a piece in the Annals of Internal Medicine  that remembers Henry Beecher and Maurice Papworth (whose book was my MRCP primer). But the more germane quote for the theme of this blog is from an obituary of Pappworth by Christopher Booth. Booth writes:

He was a remarkable clinical teacher. During the years he coached over 1600 young doctors, many from the old Dominions. He could claim that some 75% of the doctors from New Zealand and Australia who got their membership during the postwar period had done so because of him. Not unnaturally, the traditional membership examiners did not take too kindly to his success. One once asked him, “What exactly do you teach these fellows?” To which Pappworth replied, “I just teach them tricks.”

Post by Jonathan Rees

Clinical academic and skin watcher at the University of Edinburgh

Comments are closed.