Doctors Patients and Diseases | Hektoen International

Decoding doctor-speak in the era of OpenNotes

Jennifer Wineke Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Modern-day doctors share a common dilemma: how do you get all of the necessary information into the electronic medical record while still being present with the patient? Every doctor I have talked to approaches this challenge a little differently. Some acknowledge the impersonality upfront and apologize to the […]

Not by blood

Simon Edber Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States (Spring 2018)     Child Seated on a Sofa (1883) by Mary Cassatt National Gallery of Art, Ailsa Mellon Bruce Collection Raven knows exactly how she joined the family: “She didn’t want me so she took me to the hospital, and then you came and bought me from the hospital.” […]

Aspects of distancing

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece (Spring 2018)   Corfu Island, Greece. Author Photo. I will call him Bill. We had been unaware of each other’s existence until we first met as elected members of a professional committee in our local medical association. In this capacity we had been working together for several years, convening every two or […]

Retirement reflections: from code to compassion with Chloe

Gregory W. Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio, United States (Spring 2018)   Daphnis & Chloe, by Henry Woods, R.A William May and Samuel Shem have described inadequacies of doctor-patient relationships that are characterized as code models.1,2 May observed that these medical codes binding patients and their physicians together shape relationships similar to habits or rules, are aesthetic and […]

Call me Sylvester!

T. Colin Killeen Cleveland, Ohio, United States (Spring 2018)   I could hear him as he rounded the corner from the lobby. He seemed to know almost everyone in the office; they cooed over him and he fawned at each and every one of them. My day was already busy with a full office schedule, […]

People or numbers: healing and efficiency

Damiano Rondelli Chicago, Illinois, United States (Spring 2018)   In a rare text from 1793, the Italian physician Luigi Angeli instructed young doctors on how to approach a patient: “…once you questioned the patient about his disease, or the remote causes of this, and after you observed the quality of his temper, age, once clarified […]

Fighting the long defeat

John Brewer Eberly, Jr.  Columbia, South Carolina, United States (Spring 2018)   Arcata Mill fire. May 1965. Photograph by Peter E. Palmquist (1936-2003). “Together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”1  — J. R. R. Tolkien   In May 1965, a fire started on the ground floor of the Sound Lumber […]

The hypocrisy of the advice-giver

Kathryn Taylor San Francisco, California, United States (Winter 2018)   MyPlate illustrates the five food groups that are the building blocks for a healthy diet, as recommended by the U.S. government. I do not floss daily. And I have poor sleep hygiene – I am always starting into the blue-light, back-lit screen before I go to […]

Poppy power

John Graham-Pole Gainesville, Florida, United States (Winter 2018)   Dr. Graham-Pole with cancer patient, Bridget. At the time of the photo, Bridget had life-threatening cancer requiring opioids, and is now a successful artist. Author photo. The poppy’s juice…brings the sleep to dear Mama — Sara Coleridge, Pretty Lessons in Verse for Good Children   In Xanadu […]

Case of the authentic chest pain thought too good to be true

Michael Daley Chicago, Illinois (Winter 2018)    Free your mind of bias. Mr. Bob Stevenson was fifty-one and had a history of intravenous drug abuse. He was sent to our emergency department on a Friday afternoon from the local detention center, with a chief complaint of chest pain. He said he had been watching television […]