Medicine is one of the oldest professions in the world. Since antiquity, several health professionals have left as a legacy not only their scientific discoveries but also an infinity of striking phrases.

Names like Hippocrates considered the father of medicine, among other important personalities in the history of medicine, will be present in this list, check below.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale was a British woman considered the founder of modern nursing, becoming famous for her performance in the Crimean War. She was a pioneer in the treatment of the wounded in battles and even implemented handwashing and other hygiene practices in British Army hospitals, something that was not common at that time.

Due to her efforts and studies, she managed to found the School of Nursing at St. Thomas Hospital, in the city of London, in 1860, a milestone in the history of contemporary Nursing.

Striking phrase:

"The first requirement of a hospital is that it should never harm the patient." Florence Nightingale

Elizabeth Blackwell

Born on February 3, 1821, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to graduate and practice medicine in the United States. Elizabeth showed an interest in medicine shortly after her father's death, and in 1849 she became the first woman to receive a doctorate in the USA.

Elizabeth became friends with Florence Nightingale and, together with her and her sister, Emily Blackwell created Women's Medical College. She also helped organize the National Health Society and founded the London School of Medicine for Women.

Striking phrase:

"The idea of obtaining a medical degree gradually took on the aspect of a great moral struggle, and the moral struggle had an immense attraction for me." Elizabeth Blackwell


Considered by many to be one of the most important figures in the history of medicine, Hippocrates was an asclepiad, that is, a member of a family that had practiced health care for several generations.

In the Hippocratic works, there are a series of clinical descriptions by which diseases such as malaria, mumps, pneumonia, and tuberculosis can be diagnosed.

Hippocrates was responsible for founding the Hippocratic School of Medicine, a school that revolutionized this science in Greece by establishing medicine as a study discipline in addition to those traditionally known in the context. Also, Hippocrates is credited with the well-known hippocratic oath of doctors, which is a mandatory oath that doctors take at the end of their university studies.

Striking phrase:

"It is more important to know the person who has the disease than the disease the person has." Hippocrates.

Sigmund Freud

Sigmund Schlomo Freud was a neurologist and psychiatrist, was one of the most outstanding historical figures of the 20th century. He is considered the father of psychoanalysis - the method of investigation and clinic that he created.

He began his studies by using the technique of hypnosis in the treatment of patients with hysteria, as a way of accessing their mental contents. Observing the improvement of patients treated by the French doctor Charcot, he hypothesized that the cause of hysteria was psychological, not organic.

Freud had a biopsychosocial view of the human being. His theories and treatments were controversial in 19th century Vienna, and continue to be hotly debated today. His theory is of great influence in current psychology and continues to be developed through studies and clinical practice in the area, with psychoanalysts who came after him.

Striking phrase:

"The riddles of the universe are only slowly revealed to our investigation. There are questions to which man, today, cannot give us answers, but scientific work is the only way that can lead us to a true knowledge of the reality external to us." Sigmund Freud

William Osler

William Osler was a Canadian physician born in 1849, and graduated from McGill University in Montreal. Considered one of the icons of modern medicine, William was a professor at the Johns Hopkins Hospital School of Medicine and defended the teaching of medicine at the bedside.

For Osler, the practice of medicine is an art, not a company. He says that "it is a call in which your heart will be exercised equally with your head". He died of pneumonia in 1919, two years after the death of his only son, despite the efforts of his friends and great surgeons Harvey Cushing and George Crile, who operated on him at the 47th Casualty Clearing Station, the advanced wound care outpost in Lozinghem.

Striking phrase:

"The good doctor treats diseases, but the great doctor treats the patient." William Osler

Joseph Frank Payne

Born in 1840 and the son of teachers, Frank Payne was an English physician, also known as a historian of medicine. He studied medicine at St. George's Hospital, London, and graduated from Oxford in 1867. Throughout his career, he gave several lectures and published articles on pathology, epidemiology, dermatology, and the history of medicine.

Striking phrase:

"The basis of medicine is sympathy and a desire to help others, and everything done for that purpose should be called medicine." Frank Payne


Paracelsus, pseudonym of Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, was a Swiss-German physician, alchemist, physicist, astrologer, and occultist. Paracelsus was also credited with creating the name of the element zinc, calling it zincum.

He graduated in medicine at the University of Vienna in 1510, at the age of seventeen. It is speculated that he did his doctorate at the University of Ferrara in 1515 or 1516. In his lifetime, Paracelsus undertook a search for medicines and how to improve them. With his research, he contributed to forging a more scientific way of medicine away from scholasticism, a predominant trend at the time.

Striking phrase:

"The difference between medicine and poison is the dose." Paracelsus

Aloysius Sieffert

Aloysius Sieffert was a German doctor who practiced medicine in Evansville, an American city in Indiana. The phrase that we will highlight next was found in a note made in his notebook, dated 1858.

Striking phrase:

"The care of the human mind is the noblest branch of medicine." Aloysius Sieffert

Ivo Pitanguy

Ivo Hélcio Jardim de Campos Pitanguy was a Brazilian plastic surgeon, professor, and writer, a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Brazilian Academy of Letters. He is considered the largest plastic surgeon in the world and died in August 2016.

Ivo Pitanguy is the author of more than 900 works published in magazines in Brazil and abroad, and throughout his career, he had the opportunity to promote his specialty in the written and televised press in Brazil and several countries. In 2008, New York Magazine referred to him as "the king of plastic surgery", and was already called "Michelangelo of the scalpel" by the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Striking phrase:

“We know the fallacies of medicine. The doctor knows his universe and knows that he is facing the imponderable. We doctors should not be afraid of medicine. ” Ivo Pitanguy

Jacinto Convit

Jacinto Convit García was a Venezuelan doctor and scientist, recognized for his studies to discover a cure against various types of cancer and researcher of diseases such as leishmaniasis and Chagas disease. Convit was known for his non-profit practice and his nobility.

In 1988, due to the great advances in epidemiological studies, he received a Nobel Prize for Medicine nomination for the discovery of the leprosy vaccine. In 2011, at the age of 98, he led a team at the Institute of Biomedicine where he worked on researching a vaccine against breast, stomach, and colon cancer of the uterus.

Striking phrase:

"Working in the health field is a principle: it allows us to be useful to society with all the strength and knowledge that we have. This service to society must be a consequence of the vocation and commitment when graduating." Jacinto Convit

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