/ /

  • linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    Trying new things in medicine

    Advances made by constant questioning, study of new therapies


    My classmate in medical school, Eric, only became a medical student because his father insisted. Eric wasn’t happy about this until he discovered he loved ophthalmology. He went on to perform brilliantly as a resident and built an extremely successful and fulfilling practice.

    Eric’s story is not unique.

    Claudius Galenus, also known as Galen, was born in 129 A.D. to a well-to-do Greek family in Pergamum. His father arranged for his son to have a first-class education to prepare him for a prestigious career as either a philosopher or politician. Then his father had a dream in which the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, ordered him to make his son study medicine.

    So, a star was born. Galen went to Alexandria and studied every medical text available. His big break came in 157 A.D. when he was appointed physician to the gladiators in Pergamum. This allowed him to become an expert in the management of injuries, and the death rate among his gladiator clientele plummeted.

    He showed the value of ligating bleeding vessels. His vivisections of monkeys and other animals (the dissection of human cadavers was forbidden) shaped his insights into anatomy and physiology. Galen eventually moved to Rome and became physician to the emperors.

    Peter J. McDonnell, MD
    He is director of The Wilmer Eye Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, and chief medical editor of ...

    New Call-to-action


    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • No comments available


    View Results