Tradition & Heritage Timeline Artifacts  
The Needs of the Patient Come First
Dr. William J. Mayo with a young patient
The Best Interest of the Patient

Dr. William J. Mayo repeatedly said that a sick person was not like a wagon, to be taken apart and repaired in pieces, but should be examined and treated as a whole. He believed specialists should function as a unit in relation to the patient.

In 1910, he told the graduating class of Rush Medical College:

As we men of medicine grow in learning we more justly appreciate our dependence on each other. The sum total of medical knowledge is now so great and wide spreading that it would be futile for any one man ... to assume that he has even a working knowledge of any part of the whole ... 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 ... It has become necessary to develop medicine as a cooperative science; the clinician, the specialist, and the laboratory workers uniting for the good of the patient, each assisting in elucidation of the problem at hand, and each dependent upon the other for support.

This philosophy of care continues today for the betterment of people around the world.

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