Name most famous doctor in history of medicine

Dr Daniel Sokol for BBC:

"When I asked my medical students to name famous doctors in the history of medicine, their first answer was Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered hundreds of patients.

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

Their second answer was House, the fictional doctor from the American TV series.

Tears of frustration welled up in my eyes.

Their third answer was Hippocrates, presumed author of the Hippocratic Oath - I breathed a sigh of relief."

A guide to the Hippocratic Oath. Dr Daniel Sokol, BBC.
Image source: Hippocrates of Kos, engraving by Peter Paul Rubens, 1638, courtesy of the National Library of Medicine, public domain.


  1. Ha, I never heard of Shipman. My first thought was Osler. We hear about him constantly. He has become a caricature of a man in my mind, to the point where now I roll my eyes whenever someone brings up his name. One preceptor told me that the reason why we have all these physical exam "rules," such as that you must always perform an abdominal exam from the patient's right side, is because Osler arbitrarily decided that exams should be done from the right. This is yet another reason for me to resent him after I got dinged for examining a patient from the left during my OSCE. :-P

  2. The list is for UK-based students.

    The abdominal exam is done on the right because it is easier for the right-handed doctors to examine the liver from that position.