Dr. R. C. Cabot ’89, of Boston, delivered an unusually interesting lecture in the Assembly Room of the Union last evening at 8 o’clock on “Medicine as a Career. The lecture was open to all members of the University.
Dr. Cabot in the beginning of his talk said that he did not come to persuade his hearers that medicine was the only profession worthy of their attention. He said that there were many drawbacks to the practice of medicine, and he pointed out several of them. In the first place, medicine is not a money-making profession. There are few physicians in the country that make as much as one hundred thousand dollars a year. The average income is comparatively small. In England the average income of a physician is seventeen hundred dollars a year. In addition the doctor has no vacations; he must work day after day.
But despite these objections, which keep many men out of the profession, there are a number of opportunities that appeal to the strong, manly man. Medicine brings the practitioner into contact with all sorts and conditions of people as no other profession does. Rich, poor, and people of the middle class; men, women, and children come to the doctor and tell him things which they would not mention to their minister. Moreover, the physician sees them under the best and the truest condition. Suffering brings out the best in the man.
Next to the opportunity for contact with humanity, the excitement of the profession offers the greatest appeal. The doctor must every day cut the pack of humanity, and his unfailing optimism shows that he usually turns up what is best in human nature. The quality of experience is as important as its quantity.
In the third place, the doctor brings a flag of truce to every quarrel between man and man. In every day life as well as on the battlefield he is always welcome and unarmed.
The public, moreover, is interested in the medical profession and its advances as it is in no other profession. The physician, unlike the clergyman or lawyer, who must succeed in the face of prejudice, is greatly assisted by public interest and sympathy. The christian scientist, says Doctor Cabot, is the only opponent of the medical profession. Medical news is the best news, for the public wishes to know of every new discovery.
The strongest appeal of the medical profession to a virile man is the opportunity which it offers him of bringing into play every talent, mental or muscular, which he possesses. A keen eye, a sharp ear, ability in expression, tact, sympathy with all sorts of people, all come into play. The doctor as well as the lawyer must know how to cross-examine; like the translator he must know how to interpret; like the teacher he must know how to expound and explain. Every talent is of use, and a little fault like faintness at the sight of blood, which is easily outgrown, may be outweighed by any of them.
The medical profession offers the man who wants to fight a good fight every opportunity. Professor James has complained that the world is in danger of becoming too tame and of losing those manly virtues that were fostered by war. In medicine a man will find great campaigns waged which call for the highest sort of physical and moral courage.
Finally Dr. Cabot considered the future of medicine. He said that we are at the beginning of a new era in the development of medical science. There is the opportunity for discovering a great cure. Doctor Flexner, whom Rockefeller put in charge of his Institute in the face of the strongest opposition, has discovered a serum which is a sure cure for meningitis and also a preventative for infantile paralysis.
In conclusion Dr. Cabot said that although medicine does not offer advantages to a lazy or money-seeking man, it does appeal to a strong man who wishes to do a man’s work, and fight a good fight, and help humanity