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Davidsons Principles and Practice of Medicine.pdf


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Sir Stanley Davidson (1894–1981)
This famous textbook was the brainchild of one of the
great Professors of Medicine of the 20th century. Stanley
Davidson was born in Sri Lanka and began his medical
undergraduate training at Trinity College, Cambridge;
this was interrupted by World War I and later resumed
in Edinburgh. He was seriously wounded in battle, and
the carnage and shocking waste of young life that he
encountered at that time had a profound effect on his
subsequent attitudes and values.
In 1930 Stanley Davidson was appointed Professor of
Medicine at the University of Aberdeen, one of the first
full-time Chairs of Medicine anywhere and the first in
Scotland. In 1938 he took up the Chair of Medicine at
Edinburgh and was to remain in this post until retirement in 1959. He was a renowned educator and a particularly gifted teacher at the bedside, where he taught
that everything had to be questioned and explained. He
himself gave most of the systematic lectures in Medicine,
which were made available as typewritten notes that
emphasised the essentials and far surpassed any textbook available at the time.
Principles and Practice of Medicine was conceived in the
late 1940s with its origins in those lecture notes. The first
edition, published in 1952, was a masterpiece of clarity
and uniformity of style. It was of modest size and price,
but sufficiently comprehensive and up to date to provide
students with the main elements of sound medical practice. Although the format and presentation have seen
many changes in 21 subsequent editions, Sir Stanley’s
original vision and objectives remain. More than half a
century after its first publication, his book continues to
inform and educate students, doctors and health professionals all over the world.
Readers may be interested to listen to an interview with
Sir Stanley Davidson, which can be found on the Royal
College of Physicians of Edinburgh website at: www.rcpe.
ac.uk/library-archives/sir-stanley-davidson-1894-1981.

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