View Full Version : Medical professionals, your take: Caduceus vs Rod of Asclepius

12-04-2014, 05:42 AM
In my WIP, a secondary character is a former anesthesiologist. He is trying to overcome a disease, and he marks the days he doesn't have seizures by drawing a crude caduceus on his calendar.

I thought the caduceus was the symbol of the medical profession, until a Google search brought me this:


Do you all use the caduceus? Would it be better to change the caduceus to the Rod of Asclepius?

Thanks a lot. Rep points if you help clear this up.

King Neptune
12-04-2014, 06:19 AM
That article is correct. I think the error has been around for longer than indicated. If 76% of commercial operations that use the symbol get it wrong, then knowingly using the wrong one is reasonable, but you know better now, so you can't do that. I would call it the Staff of Aesculapius.

12-04-2014, 06:29 AM
Medical organisations everywhere except the USA use the staff of Asclepius. (Insert joke here about American doctors adopting the symbol of commerce, tricksters and deception instead of the symbol of healing here ...)

The use of the Caduceus in the USA supposedly comes from its use by the US Army medical corps. Its continued use is down to orneryness, I think.

12-04-2014, 06:30 AM
Even when the correct symbol is shown people often call it a caduceus-- I think it would not matter much which you use, but Asclepius would be quicker to draw and match a AMA logo

Drachen Jager
12-04-2014, 07:54 AM
One funny item in that Wikipedia article.

Highlighting mine.

"From this latter point of view, would not his symbol be suitable for certain Congressmen, all medical quacks, book agents and purveyors of vacuum cleaners, rather than for the straight-thinking, straight-speaking therapeutist?" - Stuart L. Tyson via Wikipedia

12-04-2014, 09:56 AM
When your character draws the little Staff of Aesculapius on his calendar, have him make a little head on the snake, or a knob on the top of the staff, because, drawn quickly, without detail, it's going to look a lot like a row of dollar signs.

12-04-2014, 04:27 PM
The rod it is then. Thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

12-05-2014, 01:34 AM

Friend of mine