Green Light to Medical Philately

Many years ago, C.C. Okell wrote: “If we add
anything further to the medical curriculum let it be
spare time”. The physician of today is far too
embroiled in his medical activities to have time for
other interests. The medical profession has become
so taxing that the doctor is denied the opportunity
of acquiring a wider education or even some
opined “No man is really happy or safe without a
hobby and it makes little difference what his outside
interest may be – botany, beetles or butterflies –
anything will do so long as he straddles a hobby and
rides it hard”.
Philately, the systematic collection and study of
stamps has been described as the hobby of kings
and the king of hobbies—and for once such a
description may not be an exaggeration. Although
novices, and many advanced stamp collectors,
collect all kinds of stamps and are generalists,
specialisation is the order of the day and it is possible
to specialise in stamps. The specialist collects stamps
that depict a particular theme. This specialisation is
known as thematic philately. Birds, Animals, trains,
personalities and music are some of the common
Medical philately forms one of the sophisticated
topics within the themes. Medical philately is a
popular pastime and not surprisingly, is particularly
popular among doctors. Within medicine, there are
different themes. For instance, paediatric philately
would include stamps that represent themes related
to different aspects of paediatrics. AMedline search
for “philately” shows as many as 2000 hits, implying
that medical journals and doctors treat philately with
considerable respect

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