"Medical knowledge and technical savvy are biodegradable. The sort of medicine that was practiced in Boston or New York or Atlanta fifty years ago would be as strange to a medical student or intern today as the ceremonial dance of a !Kung San tribe would seem to a rock festival audience in Hackensack."
"I'm not feeling very well - I need a doctor immediately. Ring the nearest golf course."Lewis Thomas on Groucho Marx
"A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running."Lewis Thomas on Groucho Marx
"Never go to a doctor whose office plants have died."Lewis Thomas on Erma Bombeck
"They certainly give very strange names to diseases."Lewis Thomas on Plato
"Getting out of the hospital is a lot like resigning from a book club. You're not out of it until the computer says you're out of it."Lewis Thomas on Erma Bombeck
"A lot of people fear death because they think that so overwhelming an experience has to be painful, but I've seen quite a few deaths, and, with one exception, I've never known anyone to undergo anything like agony. That's amazing when you think about it. I mean, how complicated the mechanism is that's being taken apart."
"A multitude of bees can tell the time of day, calculate the geometry of the sun's position, argue about the best location for the next swarm. Bees do a lot of close observing of other bees maybe they know what follows stinging and do it anyway."
"I won't compare ants and people, but ants give us a useful model of how single members of a community can become so organized that they end up resembling, in effect, one big collective brain. Our own exploding population and communication technology are leading us that way."
"Survival, in the cool economics of biology, means simply the persistence of one's own genes in the generations to follow."
"There's really no such thing as the agony of dying. I'm quite sure that pain is shut off at the moment of death. You see, something happens when the body knows it's about to go. Peptide hormones are released by cells in the hypothalamus and pituitary gland. Endorphins. They attach themselves to the cells responsible for feeling pain."