Wednesday, March 21, 2018



From IMDb:
A spate of murders staged as suicides leads Murdoch to suspect a sequential killer targeting the elderly.

Plenty of historical figures have appeared on this series over the years, some not as famous as your typical turn of the century characters like Teddy Roosevelt, Mark Twain, Harry Houdini, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle who have also visited Station 4 in Toronto.

And that's all to the good, because it brings them to the attention of the general public today so that they might learn more about them if they wish.

With this episode, we learned about Dr. William Osler.....

From Wikipedia:
Sir William Osler, 1st Baronet, FRS FRCP (/ˈɒz.lər/; July 12, 1849 – December 29, 1919) was a Canadian physician and one of the four founding professors of Johns Hopkins Hospital. Osler created the first residency program for specialty training of physicians, and he was the first to bring medical students out of the lecture hall for bedside clinical training. He has frequently been described as the Father of Modern Medicine and one of the "greatest diagnosticians ever to wield a stethoscope". 

Osler was a person of many interests, who in addition to being a physician, was a bibliophile, historian, author, and renowned practical joker. One of his achievements was the founding of the History of Medicine Society (previously section) of the Royal Society of Medicine, London.

Osler is well known in the field of gerontology for the speech he gave when leaving Hopkins to become the Regius Professor of Medicine at Oxford. "The Fixed Period", given on February 22, 1905, included some controversial words about old age. Osler, who had a well-developed humorous side to his character, was in his mid-fifties when he gave the speech and in it he mentioned Anthony Trollope's "The Fixed Period" (1882), which envisaged a college where men retired at 67 and after being given a year to settle their affairs, would be "peacefully extinguished by chloroform". He claimed that, "the effective, moving, vitalizing work of the world is done between the ages of twenty-five and forty" and it was downhill from then on. 

This was the background for the 'Murdoch Mysteries' episode.

Back to Wikipedia:
Osler's speech was covered by the popular press which headlined their reports with "Osler recommends chloroform at sixty". The concept of mandatory euthanasia for humans after a "fixed period" (often 60 years) became a recurring theme in 20th century imaginative literature—for example, Isaac Asimov's 1950 novel "Pebble in the Sky". In the 3rd edition of his Textbook, he also coined the description of pneumonia as "the old man's friend" since it allowed elderly individuals a quick, comparatively painless death. 

Coincidentally, Osler himself died of pneumonia.

In 1994 Osler was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

From the Murdoch Mysteries Wiki:

While William Osler is well-known as the 'Father of Modern Medicine', he is also known as an inveterate prankster who wrote several humorous pieces under the pseudonym Egerton Yorrick Davishe. Apparently these often bizarre (and fictitious) medical writings were an expression of the mischievous sense of humor lurking behind the respectable façade of the famous doctor.


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