W. B. Matthews was one of the best and most respected neurologists of the 20th century.
In 1963 he published the first edition of a medical classic – Practical Neurology. He filled his little book with the wisdom that comes from having seen thousands of patients and the clinical common sense that was pure WBM. In those days, and in some places even now, neurology was regarded as an élitist and stuffy subject, indulged in by eggheads with little interest in human beings. Not so Bryan Matthews, a modest and humane physician, who wrote:
‘The best test of a physician’s suitability for the specialized practice of neurology is not his ability to memorize improbable syndromes but whether he can continue to support a case of motor neurone disease and keep the patient, his relatives and himself in a reasonably cheerful frame of mind.’ That is hard on the doctor. After a
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