Osler, William

Osler, William

(1894–1919) physician; born in Bond Head, Ontario, Canada. He studied medicine in Canada and in Europe (where in 1873 he was the first to observe blood platelets). He returned to teach at McGill University in Montreal (1875–84). He came to the U.S.A. to teach at the University of Pennsylvania (1884–88); while there he helped found the Association of American Physicians. From 1888–1905 he taught at Johns Hopkins University's new medical school, where he revolutionized American medical teaching by insisting that medical students have responsibilities to patients even as he insisted on more scientific and professional standards in the teaching and practice of medicine. His Principles and Practice of Medicine (1891) long remained the standard textbook in medical schools throughout the world. He went to Oxford, England, to take the Regius Chair of Medicine (1905–19), and among many honors in his lifetime he was made a baronet in 1911. A man of incredible energy – he wrote numerous books, gave scores of special addresses, founded various organizations—he was also a medical historian and collector of medical books; his library is housed at McGill University.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.