He has been a doctor a year now and has had two patients, no, three, I think — yes, it was three; I attended their funerals.
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- I refused to attend his funeral. But I wrote a very nice letter explaining that I approved of it.
- I did not attend his funeral; but I wrote a nice letter saying I approved of it. [About a politician who had recently died]
- Why is it that we rejoice at birth and grieve at a funeral? It is because we are not the person involved.
- The doctor should be opaque to his patients and, like a mirror, should show them nothing but what is shown to him.
- One of the fundamental reasons why so many doctors become cynical and disillusioned is precisely because, when the abstract idealism has worn thin, they are uncertain about the value of the actual lives of the patients they are treating. This is not because they are callous or personally inhuman: it is because they live in and accept a society which is incapable of knowing what a human life is worth.
- The doctor learns that if he gets ahead of the superstitions of his patients he is a ruined man; and the result is that he instinctively takes care not to get ahead of them.