Doctors Patients and Diseases | Hektoen International

“Mississipi Appendectomy” and other stories: when silence is complicity

Alida Rol Eugene, OR (Winter 2018)    Patient on the Table, 2017. Watercolor by Alida Rol, private collection. The world moves fast and it would rather pass u by than 2 stop and c what makes u cry. – Tupac Shakur, “The Rose That Grew from Concrete”   She sits perched on the exam table in a […]

The free diaper delivery and chat service

Jean Jacob Mathews Canada (Winter 2017)    Kisthamma at her front door holding on to the adult diapers (Picture taken by author with permission from patient) It surprised me that she could laugh. How could a person who was constantly leaking urine laugh? All her sarees and her tiny room smelled of urine. The smell […]

The Basest of the Senses: Medical unease with the Sense of Smell

Rebecca Shulman Philadelphia, PA (Winter 2018)   “…the primitive organ of smell, the basest of the senses” – Patrick Suskind, Perfume   Paul Broca, who mapped the parts of the human brain involved in olfaction and argued that they had been supplanted by free will. For the past two centuries, the medical profession has had […]

Uncertainty and clinical truths

Anjan Banerjee Cambridgeshire, UK (Fall 2017)   “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability” (William Osler)   Monday 15:35 pm Franciso Goya. Self-Portrait with Dr. Arrieta, 1820. The ninety-eight year old patient with piercing blue eyes and a quizzical expression sat in her wheelchair in the colorectal clinic. We sat facing […]

Cheeseburgers and cursewords

Sara Gody Jackson Bybee Salt Lake City, Utah (Summer 2017) I hardly recognized him. The photograph in his hospital record taken two years prior boasts a thirty-seven-year-old man with a full face, short reddish hair and a twinkle in his eyes. Now he reclines passively in bed, his face sallow, cheek bones protruding like the […]

Which weighs upon the heart

Murad Moosa Khan Karachi, Pakistan (Spring 2017)   Painting by Nisar Ahmed I seldom see patients without an appointment, which for an initial patient can take up to an hour, often longer. Fortunately for this couple, the booked patient rang in to say he could not  come because of some transport problem, so I was […]

At the turning point

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece (Spring 2017)   Eva was born the year I entered medical school; our life paths would cross two decades later. She went through school, played volleyball regularly, married, and lived a normal and carefree life. Then in her early twenties she gradually began getting breathless and increasingly tired, and had dizzy […]

Beyond medicine

Jessica A. Tang Chicago, Illinois, United States (Spring 2017)   Surgeons in action I remember staring intently at the doctor as he presented two options: surgery or do nothing. Surgery could not promise drastic improvement and even came with the risk of paralysis or death. Doing nothing meant an ominous future of moving onward until […]

PEACH: Providing end of life care for the homeless

Lea Mendes Lisbon, Portugal (Spring 2017)   Retired homeless fisherman (Photo by Pedro Ribeiro Simões, Wikipedia Commons) Homeless people make up a  Fourth World population in industrialized as well as developing countries.  Homelessness creates a higher risk for disease and premature death.  An innovative Canadian program provides care for those who are homeless at the end […]

Support players in the story of an illness – how to behave

Fergus Shanahan University College Cork, Ireland (Spring 2017)   Those who support in silence and support by their presence. Kiran Sandhu,  Feb 24, 2017 One of the poems written by Seamus Heaney after recovering from a stroke was inspired by the well-known biblical story in which a sick man is miraculously cured. However, the Nobel laureate […]