Jacob Mendes Da Costa

American physician

Jacob Mendes Da Costa (February 7, 1833September 12, 1900) was an American physician. He is particularly known for discovering Da Costa's syndrome (also known as soldier's heart), an anxiety disorder combining effort fatigue, dyspnea, a sighing respiration, palpitation and sweating that he first observed in soldiers in the American Civil War.


  • I think that the cultivation of the humane letters has the most distinct bearing on the cultivation and appreciation of science. Science is nothing without imagination; and imagination is most readily kept fresh by literature. What little good there is a mere descriptive person, and in the small facts which with painful toil he accumulates. But let these facts be welded together by thought, their bearing traced by imagination, experiments devised by the mind projecting itself in advance of them, and the plodder is likely to become the great discoverer.
    • Da Costa, Jacob M. The Higher Professional Life: Valedictory Address to the Graduating Class of Jefferson Medical College, Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott & Co, 1883.
  • I declare I hold [physicians] to be true heroes, when I regard their hard existence, their pure pathetic lives; when I recall their cheerfulness and manliness; when I see them, generously forgetful of self, answering every call with alacrity; when I think of the warm heart that beats so steadfastly under the fuzzy damp coat; when I know that the lantern that guides them in a dark night to the house of distress is but like their own calm purpose and resolve shining forth to guide and comfort others.
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