Sherlock Holmes

I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix.


Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle (1859-1930), médico e escritor, criou a famosa série policial com o detetive Sherlock Holmes e Dr. Watson, seu assistente. A popularidade das histórias chegou ao ponto de fazerem com que “criassem” um número na Baker Street em Londres (o 221B) que não existia nos tempos de Conan Doyle.

Muitas das habilidades de Sherlock Holmes foram inspiradas no professor Joseph Bell (1837-1911) da Escola de Medicina da Universidade de Endinburgo. Ele vinha de uma família com uma longa linhagem na Medicina e tinha um talento excepcional de observação e dedução, exemplificados na citação abaixo:

[Joseph] Bell once remarked to an astonished outpatient: “I know you are a beadle and ring the bells on Sundays at a church in Northumberland somewhere near the Tweed.” “I’m all that,” said the man, “but how do you know? I never told you.” The outpatient left, bewildered. Bell turned to his students: “Did you notice the Northumbrian burr in his speech, too soft for the south of Northumberland? One only finds it near the Tweed. And then his hands. Did you not notice the callosities on them caused by the ropes? Also, this is Saturday, and when I asked him if he could not come back on Monday, he said he must be getting home tonight. Then I knew he had to ring the bells tomorrow. Quite easy, gentleman, if you will only observe and put two and two together.”


O mesmo Joseph Bell que ensinava em suas preleções

The precise and intelligent recognition and appreciation of minor differences is the real essential factor in all successful medical diagnoses (…) Eyes and ears which can see and hear, memory to record at once and to recall at pleasure the impression of the senses, and an imagination capable of weaving a theory or piecing together a broken chain or unravelling a tangled clue, such are implements of his trade to a successful diagnostician.


pode ser reconhecido nestas várias citações das histórias de Sherlock Holmes (WESTMORELAND, 1991):

  • “Like all other arts, the science of Deduction and Analysis is one which can only be acquired by long and patient study.” (A Study in Scarlet)
  • “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence.” (Idem.)
  • “We all learn by experience, and your lesson this time is that you should never lose sight of the alternative.” (The Adventure of Black Peter)
  • “It is of the highest importance in the art of detection to be able to recognize out of a number of facts which are incidental and which vital.” (The Reigate Squires)
  • “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” (The Sign of the Four)
  • “A man should keep his little brain attic stocked with all the furniture that he is likely to use, and the rest he can put away in the lumber-room of his library, where he can get it if he wants it.” (The Five Orange Pips)

Em tempos de “protocolização” generalizada, de fluxogramas e punições por eventuais desvios dos procedimentos aceitos, pode ser que esse agora seja um talento desnecessário (e, por isso, não mais cultivado nas graduações).

Mas, como dito pelo próprio Joseph Bell, “most men have a head, two arms, a nose, a mouth and a certain number of teeth. It is the little differences (the ‘trifles’) such as the droop of an eyelid, which differentiates man”. Pois sempre haverá distinções nas potencialidades e no uso que se faz deles.


Westmoreland, Barbara F.; Key, Jack D. Arthur Conan Doyle, Joseph Bell, and Sherlock Holmes – A Neurologic Connection. Arch Neurol. 1991;48(3):325-9.
Fiction imitates real life in a case of true inspiration. Irish Examiner. Acessado em janeiro de 2021.
Scientist of the Day – Joseph Bell. Linda Hall Library. 02/12/2019. Acessado em janeiro de 2021.

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