Medicine: Osier at Blockley

In 1884, eager, warmhearted Canadian Dr. William Osier flipped a coin, to decide whether he should leave McGill University in Montreal to teach clinical medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. It fell "heads"; he left.

Sprawling next to the new University Hospital were the ramshackle buildings of Blockley (Philadelphia General Hospital), oldest in the U. S. (founded 1732). Near Blockley's rear gate was a narrow, two-story, red brick building, the old autopsy house. There Dr. Osier went every afternoon, a top hat on the back of his head, a pack of adoring students at his heels. In a bare room furnished only...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!