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J R Soc Med. 2004 March; 97(3): 157–158.
PMCID: PMC1079346

A physician objects

In his review of my book of essays A Physician Reflects (January 2004 JRSM), Adrian Marston states that I have made a valiant attempt to credit the `denizens of Regents Park' (i.e. the Royal College of Physicians) with the discovery of the cause of lung cancer. I made no such attempt. The College, it should be emphasized, never discovered anything. Not even the most prejudiced Fellow of the College would make such an assertion, let alone a serious student of the history of 20th century medicine. Your reviewer suggests that I will cause `much innocent merriment among surgeons and others'. The College has paid tribute to the outstanding work of Sir Austin Bradford Hill and Sir Richard Doll on a number of occasions. Furthermore, Sir Austin was the first non-medical scientist to be elected to the Fellowship of the College, nominated by Sir Harold Himsworth, Secretary of the Medical Research Council, which gave strong support to the work of Bradford Hill and Doll. Your reviewer's remarks will cause more sadness than merriment among those serious historians who were kind enough to read the essays before publication.

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