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J R Soc Med. 2006 April; 99(4): 169.
PMCID: PMC1420796

Eliot Slater

I found the article by Stone et al. (December 2005 JRSM1) on Eliot Slater's views on hysteria very interesting. In 1948 I was giving myself some post-demobilization refreshment in neurology by attending the afternoon demonstrations at `Queen Square' as the Institute of Neurology was then popularly called. These demonstrations were always occasions for showing off the hystrionic as well as the neurological skills of the clinician. On the occasion which I describe, Dr Blake-Pritchard had just begun to examine a patient when a look of horror came over his face; `Nurse,' he said, in a strangled tone, `This patient is functional! Take her to see Dr Slater.' The patient was quickly hustled off the scene, to be seen by Dr Slater somewhere in the bowels of the hospital. After reading Dr Stone's contribution I wondered whether Dr Slater had got tired of being the dumping ground for the hysterical rejects of the Queen Square neurologists, and it was this that caused him to write his inflammatory article.2


1. Stone J, Warlow C, Carson A, Sharpe M. Eliot Slater's myth of the non-existence of hysteria. J R Soc Med 2005;98: 547-8 [PMC free article] [PubMed]
2. Slater E.T. Diagnosis of `hysteria'. BMJ 1965;i: 395-9

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