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Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2012 Jan;25(1):62-5.

Sir William Osler's speech at Troy: a Trojan horse?

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Department of Urology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; and the William P. Didusch Center for the History of Urology and the Arizona Institute of Urology, Tucson, Arizona.


Troy, New York, is a city of 55,000 people in upstate New York located along the Hudson River. A city of surprisingly rich cultural heritage, it was the home of New York state's first hospital outside New York City. The 50th anniversary celebration of Troy's hospital brought William Osler to the city as the keynote speaker. This speech, delivered on November 28, 1900, is one of Sir William's less well known addresses. Osler began his comments with Sir Thomas More's Utopia and talked at length about the hospital, its obligations, the influences it has upon the community, and the role of physicians and surgeons. He broached one of his old saws, the salary of attending physicians and their needed role in hospital management. His words were published in the diamond jubilee's records, but the hospital did not outlive its prominent guest professor, and it closed its doors in 1914. Just like the great historical city of Troy, New York's own Troy was on the brink of decline, and its hospital would be the first fatality. Therefore, it is almost prescient that the words of Osler, taken into historical context juxtaposed against the socioeconomic forces at work, are akin to the Greek's offering of a wooden edifice to end the Trojan War.

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