Prof Cuimin T Doyle’s books on medical culture

Healing Hands from the Cradle to the Grave is an anthology of medical poetry by both doctor-poets and non-medical poets. It starts in the relatively care-free days of the medical student followed by the more stressful years of the junior doctor. It then deals with illnesses of infants and children and different diseases of the body and mind of patients.  Experiences of, and the atmosphere in which the different medical specialities are practiced lead, finally, to a view of the professon as experienced by both patient and doctor.

Historical aspects, recent advances and comments on each subject are covered in accompanying notes with a biography of the poet from a medical perspective, where possible.

The purpose of the anthology is to entertain and inform.

Medieval and Hippocratic Medicine in Verse consists of three works.  Not unlike AIDS in the early 1980s, a devastating new disease of unknown cause swept through Europe and beyond at the end of the fifteenth century.  It was given many names including ‘The French Disease’ (morbus Gallicus) or ‘French Pox’ until Girolamo Fracastoro, one of the most brilliant doctor-scientists of his time named it ‘Syphilis’ in his 1530 poem, Syphilis, sive morbus Gallicus. Dublin-born Nahum Tate (1652-1715) published the first English translation of the poem in 1686. It is reproduced here in modern English for the first time.

The Salerno Medical School, some fifty kilometres south of Naples, was founded sometime before the tenth century.  At the height of its fame students and patients came to the school for education and treatment, and on leaving were given a copy of Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum in verse.  The Regimen contained information on healthy living and appropriate treatments for many diseases. It was one of the most popular medical works ever written and was translated into English by Sir John Harington, godson of Queen Elizabeth 1 and published in 1607.  Harington took some liberties in translation and these are pointed out in accompanying notes.

The last of the three works in this book and the most ancient – the Hippocratic Oath and the Hippocratic Canon – date from around the fifth century BC and were handed down to succeeding generations of doctors into the twentieth century. They are reproduced here in verse for the first time.

Both publications may be purchased ‘online’ from Both paperpacks cost €15.00 each.


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