Mayo Brothers’ Wisdom | Sharing Mayo Clinic


More than a century ago, Dr. William J. Mayo and Dr. Charles H. Mayo, along with their father, Dr. William W. Mayo, created what has become Mayo Clinic. The tradition and heritage they began includes many innovations that have changed medicine worldwide, including the first multi-specialty group practice and the centralized medical record.

The Mayo brothers were pioneers whose far-sighted wisdom made Mayo Clinic possible. In 1919, they donated their estates to what became the Mayo Foundation and put all employees – including physicians – on a salaried basis.

Decisions like that were outgrowths of a philosophy that has defined Mayo Clinic, and that was expressed by Dr. Will Mayo in 1910, in a graduation speech to Rush Medical College in Chicago.

2010 marked the 100th anniversary of that speech, which is excerpted below in the first of a year-long series of posts with quotes from the Mayo brothers. To honor them, and in memory of their father, who had passed away 100 years prior, we posted a quote from either Dr. Will or Dr. Charlie here (and on Twitter) each working day of 2011.

For more background on this series, see What would Dr. Will and Dr. Charlie Tweet?


December 29

“Attend your medical societies…”- Dr. Will Mayo

December 28

“I would admonish you, above all other considerations, to be honest. I mean honesty in every conception of the word: let it enter into all the details of your work; in the treatment of your patients and in your association with your brother practitioners.” – Dr. Will Mayo

December 27

“Write papers; they will do you much good, although at first they may not benefit any one else.” – Dr. Will Mayo 

December 23

“Never allow yourself to borrow from the future.” – Dr. Will Mayo

December 22

“Probably in the not far distant future we will crawl out of our old methods of education, as a snake sheds its skin, and reorganize a new plan.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 21

“I would suggest the plan of reading not less than one hour a day.”- Dr. Will Mayo

December 20

“At the same time the increasing intricacy…tends to make him subdivide  his specialty…to ‘know more and more about less and less.’”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 19

“Cultivate methodic habits of study.”- Dr. Will Mayo

December 16

Thus the specialist’s practice exacts wider knowledge of the body in health and disease; he must be able to examine the entire body…”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 15

“As we have become more and more dependent upon the laboratory and special investigations in making our diagnosis, we have gradually lost that faculty of clinical observation which enabled these early clinicians to make an accurate diagnosis in the more common diseases almost with a glance at the patient.” – Dr. Will Mayo

December 14

“I believe we are traveling the road to the elucidation of all disease, but the journey’s end may be a long way off.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 13

“Errors of judgment in student days were made harmless by the care and attention of your teachers. From now on you will have no such check upon your actions, and your mistakes will be costly because they concern the health and happiness, if not the life, of individuals.”- Dr. Will Mayo

December 12

“Perhaps somebody may run across these lines in fifty or hundred years and comment with tolerant pity: ‘Well, he had a glimmering of vision, anyways!’”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 9

“The mental effect on the patient is good, the practical knowledge to yourself is better, and if you avail yourselves of all the means of physical diagnosis and repeated examinations, the number of unsolved cases will be surprisingly small.” – Dr. Will Mayo

December 8

“Yet they called themselves modern and looked back at sort of pity from the pinnacles of scientific success to which they had attained…their predecessors with a patronizing I cannot always be sure that a century from now somebody will not be saying the same sort of things about us.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 7

“Above all things, let me urge upon you the absolute necessity of careful examinations for the purpose of diagnosis. My own experience has been that the public will forgive you and error in treatment more readily than one in diagnosis, and I fully believe that more than one-half of the failures in diagnosis are due to hasty and unmethodic examinations.” – Dr. Will Mayo

December 6

“To keep a patient in the hospital longer than is necessary is an unwarranted expense to him or an unjustified tax on those who contribute to hospital expenses, besides keeping some other needy patient from being cared for.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

December 5

“No one is big enough to be independent of others” – Dr. William Worrall Mayo 

December 2

“I know Mayo Clinic took a chance on me as their first patient. If I had to say one thing, it would be thanks for taking that chance.” Linda Stout

December 1

“I look through a half-opened door into the future, full of interest, intriguing beyond my power to describe…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 30

“Nature and evolution dislike waste, and whenever possible they use tissues for other purposes when the type of structure and the form of life change.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

November 29

“See things for yourself; reading alone is not enough.” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 28

“I was born with an inherited condition called philanthropy. It’s the one disease Mayo Clinic has never tried to cure!” Samuel C. Johnson

November 23

“…medicine as a cooperative science…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 22

“We don’t know what we can do until we’ve tried.” J.E. Davis, Patient and benefactor who took the lead in bringing Mayo Clinic to Jacksonville, Fl. 1986

November 21

“…uniting for the good of the patient…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 18

“This hospital came into being because it is the product of the time and the talent and the devotion of many people.” Hon. Harry A. Blackmun

November 17

“With our faith and hope and energy it will succeed.” Mother Alfred Moes

November 16

“…produce work worthy of your efforts.” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 15

“Health care is more than just having the latest piece of equipment or the newest techniques. In reality, health care is about people.” Peter W. Carryer, M.D. and Gregory J. Thomas

November 14

“…the science and art of medicine…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 11

“Here science serves, enthroned in architecture and crowned with music.” – James Drummond

November 10

“…each dependent upon the other for support…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 9

“…duty of the profession…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 8

“The primary vision of our Mayo institutions, of our profession, of our science, of our new school is a mission on behalf of the humane.” – Raymond D. Pruitt, M.D.

November 7

“…honesty in every conception of the word…” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 4

“Within its walls all classes of people, the poor as well as the rich, without regard to color or creed, shall be cared for without discrimination.” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 3

“The government has dabbled in medial affairs at enormous expense for what has been accomplished.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

November 2

“Truth is a constant variable.” – Dr. Will Mayo

November 1

“How much better it is to have the walls covered with books with which we are establishing friendly relations, than with pictures of passing interest which we have happened to obtain. Eventually pictures may lose their interest, whereas books never lose their fascination.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 31

“The glory of medicine is that it is constantly moving forward, that there is always more to learn.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 28

“We think of truth as something that is invariable, but add a new circumstance and we have a new truth.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 27

“The educator has assumed almost full charge of medical education.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 26

“The soldier is rewarded or promoted for risk of life and personal valor; an officer who is given authority to command the destruction of life may have spent but a few months in a training camp, while the medical officer who is responsible for the preservation of life devotes many years to preparation.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 25

“The independent thinker is a crank if he thinks wrongly, but a genius if he thinks rightly.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 24

“We are more than ever firmly convinced that war is what Sherman called it, and made of it, Hell.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 21

“[of Dr. Lewis Linn McArthur] As a surgeon he never grew old, but was interested and interesting to the end.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 20

“Of all the symptoms for which physicians are consulted, pain in one form or another is the most common and often the most urgent. Properly assessed, it stands pre-eminent among sensory phenomena of disease as a guide to diagnosis.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 19

“One must confess that whatever his mental and moral deficiencies, and they are certainly great, as a machine, man has no equal.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 18

“We have still left on the earth groups of people representing every age of civilization.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 17

“The church and the law deal with the yesterdays of life; medicine deals with the tomorrows.” –Dr. Will Mayo

October 14

“Judgment is a great asset; it makes the diagnostician and the surgeon both supermen.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 13

“We think of truths as ponderables capable of being measured and weighed, but introduce a new fact or a new thought and a new truth is developed.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 12

“Examination must be within reason for the sick, or near-sick, and its extent will be based on the judgment and experience of the physician.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 11

“The hospital should be a refuge to which the sick might go for relief as they went before our Savior, …” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 10

“In some other countries, where conditions of living are entirely different from those in the United States, problems of health have been solved by socialization of medicine but to assume that we should imitate those solutions is ridiculous.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 7

“Each day as I go through the hospitals surrounded by younger men, they give me of their dreams and I give them of my experience, and I get the better of the exchange.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 6

“Long ago I learned from my father to put old people to bed only for as short a time as was absolutely necessary, for they were like a foundered horse, if they got down it was difficult for them to get up, and their strength ebbed away very rapidly while in bed.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 5

“As a nation we see that we must raise the average level of intelligence, if we are to have good government, because the average intelligence controls the form of government.” – Dr. Will Mayo

October 4

“Now that the first part of this meeting has been satisfactorily disposed of, we shall enter on the occasion which brought us together, and that is the recognition of the most important event that can occur in the life of a man, that of being born.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

October 3

“No person, regardless of whether or not he has money, is refused good medical attention.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 30

“If we carry our special training too far, uneducated cults slip in.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 29

“Memory can be spoken of as mental photography.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 28

“Time has been annihilated by the telegraph, the cable, the telephone and the wireless, thus enabling the newspapers to educate the world.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 27

“We must bear in mind the difference between thoroughness and efficiency. Thoroughness gathers all the facts, but efficiency distinguishes the two-cent pieces of non-essential data from the twenty-dollar gold pieces of fundamental fact.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 26

“Civilized man does not add to the beauties of nature, but generally destroys, perverts, or disarranges the progress of natural changes.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 23

“Life is largely a matter of chemistry.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 22

“Much of the fog which surrounded the early-day knowledge of this subject was due to a nomenclature which labeled the syndrome of symptoms with the names of various men who more or less perfectly described the condition.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 21

“The man of science in searching for the truth must ever be guided by the cold logic of facts, and be animated by scientific imagination.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 20

“The choice of an anesthetic is more often determined by the idiosyncrasy of the operator than the necessity of the case.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 19

“The future of any country depends on the proper use of its most intelligent men.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 16

“Anatomy and physiology will again grow in importance as living topics directly concerned in disease.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 15

“A prominent specialist in gastrointestinal diseases once asked, ‘How is it possible that you, a general surgeon, see so many of these cases while I, who am devoting all my time to this work, see so few?’ I could only answer, “The thickness of the abdominal wall prevents you from seeing them.’” – Dr. William Mayo

September 14

“In truth, we advance far by the harmonious assembling of facts made known by many observers and writers.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 13

“It is interesting to speculate as to what diagnoses were made in the cases of duodenal ulcer prior to our present knowledge.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 12

“A crowned tooth is not a ‘crown of glory’ and may cover a multitude of germs.”- Dr. Charles Mayo

September 9

“There is no excuse today for the surgeon to learn on the patient.” – Dr. Will Mayo

September 8

“There are lots of people who think they are sick and who are not sick.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 7

“At the close of a man’s life, to estimate his worth it is wise to see him in relation to his life surroundings, to know not only the part he played as an individual, but also as a component part of the great events to which he contributed in the betterment of mankind.”- Dr. Will Mayo

September 6

“From a medical standpoint we must be proud of our country and our great dead.”  –      Dr. Charlie Mayo

September 2

“The true physician will never be satisfied just to pass his therapeutic wares over a counter.” – Dr. Charles Mayo

September 1

“….the highly scientific development of this mechanistic age had led perhaps to some loss in appreciation of the individuality of the patient and to trusting largely to the laboratories and outside agencies which tended to make the patient not the hub of the wheel, but a spoke.” – Dr. Will Mayo

August 31

“The trained nurse has given nursing the human, or shall we say, the divine touch, and made the hospital desirable for patients with serious ailments regardless of their home advantages.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 30

“We cannot turn back the hand of time in disease, but early operation will give a low mortality and cure a higher percentage of patients than has been cured in the group which I have considered here.” – Dr. Will Mayo

August 29

“Knowledge is acquired by a compelling force from within, by desire, or from without, by compulsion.” – Dr. Charles Mayo

August 26

“[of Dr. John B. Murphy]…, his was not the nature that desired praise, but with the divine spark he desired ever to kindle new fires under old misconceptions.” – Dr. Will Mayo

August 25

“Let there be education in medicine commensurate to instruction; let the young physician be sound in the fundamentals, so that he may see his problem as it is, and his duty to himself, his patients and the science of medicine.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 24

“Unfortunately, only a small number of patients with peptic ulcer are financially able to make a pet of an ulcer.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 23

“The lack of money in the medical profession makes it desirable to build memorials for utility.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 22

“I have been surprised to note the readiness with which high-grade young men, graduates from medical institutions which are models for our time, yield to the temptation of machine-made diagnosis.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 19

“We have gone on from the principle of universal opportunity to that of universal compulsion.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 18

“The reputation of a surgeon, in the final analysis, must rest upon (I) originality, (2) teaching by work of mouth, (3) teaching by the printed word and (4) surgical judgment, and operative skill.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 17

“To have better community health the people must be convinced that certain diseases are infectious. After this conviction has become established, a community can be free from disease in proportion to what it can pay for prevention.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 16

“Individually, no man is respected more highly than the physician.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 15

“Thus the surgeons for each period must discuss the subject and clarify it for themselves, since human experience, which affords opportunity for progress, can be passed on only to a limited extent.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 12

“The surgeon is often intolerant and the internist self sufficient.” – Dr. Will Mayo

August 11

“ Medicine gives only to those who give, but her reward for those who serve is ‘finer than much fine gold.’”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 10

“These heroic men whose life work marked epochs in medicine we think of as individuals, but what they accomplished singly was inspiration they gave to the group of men who followed them.” – Dr. Will Mayo

August 9

“It would seem that the study of medicine does not always contribute to broadmindedness, as men who choose medicine as a profession are apt to lose rather than gain breadth of perception. It could be said rather that medicine develops individualism.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 8

“If there is a sixth sense, it is intuition, that instinctive summing up of memories and other evidences collected by the special senses and correlated in man’s consciousness.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 5

“ In many years of active surgical work I have not seen death occur as the result of an unnecessary exploration.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 4

“When one thinks of knowledge, books and other evidences of the development of the civilization of man come first to mind.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 3

“The problem before us is so to exchange information, and so to educate men through travel that there shall develop a final, cosmopolitan system of medicine which will combine the best elements to be found in all countries.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

August 2

“It has been said, and I believe justly, that one should go to the educator for information but not for advice.”- Dr. Will Mayo

August 1

“While there are several chronic diseases more destructive to life than cancer none is more feared.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 29

“The examining physician often hesitates to make the necessary examination because it involves soiling the finger.”- Dr. Will Mayo

July 28

“Readjustment of labor will make it possible for man to develop the only thing as yet but little developed for its capacity, his highest attribute, the brain.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 27

“As I look back on these men who influenced me so greatly, I realize that their influence lay not in their craftsmanship, but in their high qualities of mind.”- Dr. Will Mayo

July 26

“Small organs have often engaged the attention of great men,…”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 25

“One of the chief defects in our plan of education in this country is that we give too much attention to developing the mind; we lay too much stress on acquiring knowledge and too little of the wise application of knowledge.”- Dr. Will Mayo

July 22

“[Study within these buildings only] plants the roots of knowledge; it does not make brains, but merely molds them and equips them for more and greater work.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 21

“Interpretation of the pathology of the living is the outstanding feature of the modern medicine.”- Dr. Will Mayo

July 20

“If I were asked how the next considerable advance is to be sought and won in the field of medicine, I should say by the intimate study of the physiology and anatomy as related to symptoms, and that our first concern should be a more extended and intimate study of pain.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 19

“The Romance of medicine lies in inductive philosophy, in which tomorrow is the great day.” – Dr. Will Mayo

July 18

“The physicians, in or to stimulate interest, have advocated a birthday examination to see what the audit in the bank of health actually is.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 15

“Democracy is safe only so long as culture is in the ascendancy…” – Dr. Will Mayo

July 14

“When medical progress apparently lags it is often due to neglect to honor the great physicians of the past, thus neglecting to call public attention to medical

progress through those who have made great achievements.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 13

“Democracy had its birth in the failure of autocracy.” – Dr. Will Mayo

July 12

“Man has taken what he wanted, dependent on strength and cunning, but he has been bettered by religion.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 11

“One meets with many men who have been fine students, and have stood high in their classes, who have great knowledge of medicine but very little wisdom in application. They have mastered the science, and have failed in the understanding of the human being.” – Dr. Will Mayo

July 8

“What a privilege it is to be able to teach, and how comparatively few of the many who posses the knowledge to teach are able to impart it to the student in a manner to make a permanent rather than a fleeting impression on his mind, and at the same time arouse his interest.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 7

“Medical science aims at the truth and nothing but the truth.” – Dr. Will Mayo

July 6

“The coinage of the future will not alone be gold as in the past, but will grow into brains, equipment and material with controlled energy, and only on this basis can we make the necessary readjustment of all values.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

July 5

“I look through a half opened door into the future, full of interest, intriguing beyond my power to describe, but with a full understanding that it is for each generation to solve its own problems and that no man has the wisdom to guide or control the next generation.” -Dr. Will Mayo

July 1

“It is easy to philosophize; the philosopher is said to be one who bears with equanimity the sufferings of others.”- Dr. Will Mayo

June 30

“The object of all health education is to change the conduct of individual men, women, and children by teaching them to care for their bodies well, and this instruction should be given throughout the entire period of their educational life.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 29

“Perhaps the ability not only to acquire the confidence of the patient but to deserve it, to see what the patient desires and needs, comes through the sixth sense we call intuition, which in turn comes from wide experience and deep sympathy for and devotion to the patient, giving to the possessor remarkable ability to achieve results.”- Dr. Will Mayo

June 28

“It took the world from the day of its creation to the time of the sixteenth century to raise a doubting Thomas of sufficient mental strength and courage to state that questions were answered not by authority, but by experiment.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 27

“The sciences bring into play the imagination, the building of images in which the reality of the past is blended with the ideals for the future, and from the picture there springs the prescience of genius.”- Dr. Will Mayo

June 24

“Probably the most interesting period of medicine has been that of the last few decades. So rapid has been this advance, as new knowledge developed, that the truth of each year was necessarily modified by new evidence, making the truth an ever-changing factor.”- Charlie Mayo

June 23

“The university, through its organized intelligence, controls the future.”- Dr. Will Mayo

June 22

“In America our idealism is not unusual, nor does it differ much from that of the medical faculty of other countries, if we excel in anything, it is in our capacity for translating idealism into action.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 21

“Out of his composite education we finally accept the idea that man does not live for himself alone but as an integral part of society.” – Dr. Will Mayo

June 20

“It must be remembered that physicians of today are trained to treat the sick, and they must learn how to examine so-called well persons to prevent them from getting sick.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 17

“Books become friends that never fail, …” Dr. Will Mayo

June 16

“Disease at times creates experiments that physiology completely fails to duplicate, and the wise physiologist can obtain clues to the resolution of many problems by studying the sick.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 15

“To books we turn to learn of the past, opinions of the present, and prognostications of the future.”- Dr. Will Mayo

June 14

“Those of us who have passed our three score years are actually farther removed in light years of knowledge from our fathers than our fathers were removed from King Tut.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 13

“This country rightfully has based its ideal of a safe democracy on education.” – Dr. Will Mayo

June 10

“We live in proportion to our ability to respond to and correlate ourselves with our environment.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 9

“The spleen is an organ of contradiction and mystery: in health of relatively unimportant function, in disease a menace of grave import.” – Dr. Will Mayo

June 8

“The definition of a specialist as one who ‘knows more and more about less and less’ is good and true. Its truth makes essential that the specialist, to do efficient work, must have some association with others who, taken altogether, represent the whole of which the specialty is only a part.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 7

“Modern medicine may be said to have begun with the microscope.” – Dr. Will Mayo

June 6

“I am writing here, not for those filled with principles, or the why, but for those still interested in technique, or the how.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 3

“Science is organized knowledge of the physical world.” – Dr. Will Mayo

June 2

“Carry out the two fundamental surgical requirements: see what you are doing and leave a dry field.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

June 1

“There is a limit to the amount of learning a man can absorb.”- Dr. Will Mayo

May 31

“Men left the colleges with their intellectual packs on their backs to live by their own hands.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 27

“One of the signs of a truly educated people, and a broadly educated nation, is lack of prejudice.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 26

“It has been said that the anatomist never made a good surgeon, that it was the pathologist who made the surgeon.” – Dr. Will Mayo

May 25

“The scientist is not content to stop at the obvious.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 24

“Given one well-trained physician of the highest type he will do better work for a thousand people than ten specialists.” – Dr. Will Mayo

May 23

“In the study of digestion as a necessary function in the maintenance of life, one comes very close to the fundamental question of life itself.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 20

“To children is given the power of readily acquiring languages; later, mathematics is acquired with the same readiness; but reasoning from cause to effect is a development of adolescence and early manhood.”- Dr. Will Mayo

May 19

“The medical profession should feel proud of the position it has attained in the affairs of the world.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 18

“When people have entered the seventies of their age, they usually find themselves growing conservative.”- Dr. Will Mayo

May 17

“The philosophic view of bacteria is to consider them necessary to life as the minute chemists of the air, the water and the soil.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 16

“It is for the younger people to meet the conditions of their generations in the way that appears to them to be wise and best.”- Dr. Will Mayo

May 13

“More good would come to our country through tongue control than birth control.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 12

“The wit of science not only expresses but actually reveals the science and art of medicine.”-Dr. Will Mayo

May 11

“We make many laws but obey few; and having an abhorrence of discipline, we discuss freedom.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 10

“Sometimes I wonder whether today we take sufficient care to make a thorough physical examination before our patient starts off on the round of the laboratories, which have become so necessary that oftentimes we do not fully appreciate the value of our five senses in estimating the condition of the patient.”- Dr. Will Mayo

May 9

“Public demand is the only true stimulus for tradesmen and professional men alike.”   – Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 6

“He never tried to utter the final word.” -Dr. Will Mayo

May 5

“The by-products of human deficiencies, mental, moral and physical, are a clog and a burden to the state.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 4

“Have we thought enough of wisdom, which moves knowledge and makes it useful?” –Dr. Will Mayo

May 3

“While medicine is a science, in many particulars it cannot be exact, so baffling are the varying results of varying conditions of human life.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

May 2

“I think all of us who have worked years in the profession understand that many very skillful operators are not good surgeons.”- Dr. Will Mayo

April 29

“It is a poor government that does not realize that the prolonged life, health and happiness of its people are its greatest asset.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 28

“Property rights have heretofore been considered sacred; human rights, of less consequence.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 27

“Experience with success or failure only enables the individual operator to justify methods.”- Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 26

“We have never been allowed to lose sight of the fact that the main purpose to be served by the Clinic is the care of the sick.” –Dr. Will Mayo

April 25

“The laws of civilization signify progress and efficiency along scientific lines.” – Charlie Mayo

April 22

“It is worth-while to secure the happiness of the patient as well as to prolong his life.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 21

“In medical progress the means of relief by therapeutic measures or surgery have far outstripped our knowledge of the cause of disease.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 20

“It is a man’s duty to provide moderately for his family, but anything beyond this may be a detriment to his descendants.”- Dr. Will Mayo

April 19

“In the conquering of serious diseases by surgical measures it is important that the operation itself should be as free from mortality as possible.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 18

“Individually the American is most efficient man on earth; collectively and politically, extraordinarily inefficient.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 15

“Good health is an essential to happiness, and happiness is an essential to good citizenship.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 14

“It is a great thing to make scientific discoveries of rare value, but it is even greater to be willing to share these discoveries and to encourage other workers in the same field of scientific research.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 13

“Life does not occur without life.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 12

“…it is better to think and sometimes think wrong than not to think at all.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 11

“As a profession we are probably less acute in our general observation than was the practitioner of the old school.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 8

“Today, it is impossible for any one man to know more than a little of comparatively few things.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 7

“The fact that these fads exist may be fortunate since it leads the advocates to redouble their efforts in a desire to prove the efficiency of the method.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 6

“Reading papers is not for the purpose of showing how much we know and what we are doing, but is an opportunity to learn.” – Dr. Will Mayo

April 5

“The significance of an ailment should not be measured by the inconvenience it causes at the time, but by what may come of it four or five years afterward.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

April 4

“Experience is the great teacher; unfortunately, experience leaves mental scars, and scar tissue contracts.”- Dr. Will Mayo

April 1

“It will soon be generally recognized that the citizen is best made when a child” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 31

“As we become more civilized we are beginning to emphasize not the differences that lead to antagonism but the common impulses and desires which lead to better understanding.” – Dr. Will Mayo

March 30

“There are two objects of medical education: To heal the sick, and to advance the science.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 29

“In the autumn of life one perhaps may be privileged to become reminiscent.” – Dr. Will Mayo

March 28

“When you want support for public health measures you have to educate the people. When you start to educate the people you should begin with the women because they will fight for the health of their children.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 25

“Age carries mental scars left by experience which shorten vision, but age carries wisdom.”- Dr. Will Mayo

March 24

“The great contribution we can make is to prepare the oncoming generations to think that they can and will think for themselves.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 23

“That which can be foreseen can be prevented.” –  Dr. Will Mayo

March 22

“Medicine is about as big or as little in any community, large or small, as the physicians make it.” – Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 21

“Every teacher was a practitioner of medicine and every student was taught to practice medicine.”- Dr. Will Mayo

March 18

“It has been the constant effort of the medical profession to cure or control disease by a study of its causes.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 17

“In the autumn of life one perhaps may be privileged to become reminiscent.” -Dr. Will Mayo

March 16

“The sooner patients can be removed from the depressing influence of general hospital life the more rapid their convalescence.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 15

“People die from very real things.” – Dr. Will Mayo

March 14

“Science and education have done much but education still lags.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 11

“The physician has been the council for the prosecution and the defense, the jury and the judge.”-Dr. Will Mayo

March 10

“Probably in the not far distant future we will crawl out of our old methods of education, as a snake sheds its skin, and reorganize a new plan.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 9

“After all, the best the college can do is to give the students breadth of knowledge, not necessarily depth of knowledge.” -Dr. Will Mayo

March 8

“The people will gradually demand more of their medical advisers.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 7

“Competitive medicine was the response of the individual physician to his training and environment.” -Dr. Will Mayo

March 4

“The small expense of restoring an individual to health and usefulness is returned manifold.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 3

“The keen clinician, as he grows in experience, becomes more and more valuable as age advances.”  -Dr. Will Mayo

March 2

“If we excel in anything, it is in our capacity for translating idealism into action.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

March 1

“Youth has visions of the future which are not shared to an equal extent by those of middle and later age; youth is a builder of images, a dreamer of dreams.” -Dr. Will Mayo

February 28

There must be adjustment of education to the individual.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 25

“The outstanding feature of American public life today is reverence for education.”  -Dr. Will Mayo

February 24

“Every part of the body is dependent on the whole and to develop a specialty more fully is to study what constitutes health and disease.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 23

“Medicine is the best of all professions, the most hopeful.”  -Dr. Will Mayo

February 22

“Education of the masses, has reached a high percentage; intellectual giants are in the minority.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 21

“The foundation of modern gastric surgery was the exploratory incision.” -Dr. Will Mayo

February 18

“Obedience to law means life and liberty.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 17

“The ills of today must not cloud the horizon of tomorrow.” -Dr. Will Mayo

February 16

“Democracy is not achieved in a day.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 15

“Rehabilitation is to be a master word in medicine.” -Dr. Will Mayo

February 14

“We, as parents, must give up our professed right to fix our children’s thinking.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 11

“Knowledge is static; wisdom is active and moves knowledge, making it effective.” -Dr. Will Mayo

February 10

“The prevention of disease today is one of the most important factors in the line of human endeavor.”Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 9

“Instruction from teachers and books teaches a man what to think, but the great need is that he should learn how to think.”  -Dr. Will Mayo

February 8

“More personal hygiene and improved heredity are the keynote to the health of the coming generation.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 7

“Health has come to be generally recognized as an economic principle.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 4

“The old should remember that they represent the past, and the young represent the future.” -Dr. Will Mayo

February 3

“The writer of textbooks should have a ready imagination and he should understand the child’s mind.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

February 2

“Since the object of travel is primarily self-improvement, time should not be wasted looking for things done badly and for things to criticize.”-Dr. Will Mayo

February 1

“Once you start studying medicine you never get through with it.” –Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 31

“The school house is the proud monument to the desire of the people that their children shall receive a better education than they themselves had.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 28

“Our country is no longer isolated from other countries”. -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 27

“The mere possession of a diploma does not endow one with extraordinary knowledge on all possible medical subjects.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 26

“Nothing endures unless it is of use in the world and in the economy of nature.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 25

“When knowledge is translated into proper action we speak of it as wisdom.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 24

“All who are benefited by community of life, especially the physician, owe something to the community.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 21

“Of all cooperative enterprises public health is the most important and gives the greatest returns.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 20

“Medicine is a profession for social service and it developed organization in response to social need.”-Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 19

“It never occurred to us that we could be anything but doctors.”-Dr. Will Mayo

January 18

“It is unfortunate that so few appreciate from what small causes diseases come.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 17

“Surgery is more a matter of mental grasp than it is of handicraftsmanship.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 14

“A surgical procedure should be planned so that the patient, with the least possible risk and loss of time, will receive the greatest possible benefit.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 13

“Civilization and intellectual growth depend largely on preventive medicine.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 12

“Medicine can be used only as people are educated to its accomplishments.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 11

“Commercialism in medicine never leads to true satisfaction, and to maintain our self-respect is more precious than gold.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 10

“Today the only thing that is permanent is change.” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 7

“Education must concern itself with the aspirations and needs of the common man.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 6

“In the study of some apparently new problems we often make progress by reading the work of the great men of the past…” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 5

“American practice is too broad to be national. It had the scientific spirit, and science knows no country.” -Dr. Will Mayo

January 4

“The keynote of progress in the 20th century is system and organization, -in other words, ‘teamwork.'” -Dr. Charlie Mayo

January 3

“As we grow in learning, we more justly appreciate our dependence upon each other. The sum-total of medical knowledge is now so great and wide-spreading that it would be futile for one man to attempt to acquire, or for any one man to assume that he has, even a good working knowledge of any large part of the whole. The very necessities of the case are driving practitioners into cooperation. The best interest of the patient is the only interest to be considered, and in order that the sick may have the benefit of advancing knowledge, union of forces is necessary.” -Dr. Will Mayo


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