Education | Hektoen International

Special abilities for a brave new world

Elida Melova West End Academy, The Republic of Macedonia (Winter 2018)   Miranda – The Tempest, 1916. John William Waterhouse, Oil on Canvas. London, Royal Academy, 1916, no. 52 “If you have integrity, nothing else matters. If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters.” – Alan K. Simpson This quote has found its true home […]

Cultivating clinical compassion with cultural encounters

Jeffrey Lee Philadelphia, PA (Winter 2018)   Sunset along the beaches of Sant Antoni de Calonge The calm waves of the Mediterranean played a lullaby as I walked along the beach, the fine-grained sand gently caressing my toes. I noticed a small group of women massaging each other’s backs. I awkwardly watched them from the […]

In a scan, darkly

Anthony Papagiannis St Luke’s Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece (Summer 2017)   Every so often I browse through old patient records and before committing them to the shredder I read through the histories they contain. These visits to the past are useful and edifying, allowing a more detached consideration of the events. Has something changed in medical […]

Thomas Jefferson’s medical schools

John D. Ehrhardt, Jr. and J. Patrick O’Leary Miami, Florida, United States (Summer 2017)   Portrait of Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States of America, devoted much of his life to science, medicine, and education. Entering the College of William & Mary at sixteen, […]

Aequanimitas and apathy

Lee W. Eschenroeder Charlottesville, Virginia (Spring 2017)   Sir William Osler On May 1, 1889, Sir William Osler, one of the greatest clinicians and educators of all time, stood before students at the University of Pennsylvania and delivered the valedictory address “Aequanimitas.”  Since that day equanimity, or “imperturbability” as Osler also named it, has become […]

Empathy for medical students

David Jeffrey Edinburgh, United Kingdom (Spring 2017)   Medical students check blood glucose on a patient. On a windy corner of Drummond Street, not far from Rutherford’s pub in Edinburgh, there is a small bronze plaque with these words: ‘And when I remembered all that I hoped and feared as I pickled about Rutherford’s in […]

Medicine’s old-school technology

Katie Taylor San Francisco, CA (Spring 2017)   I am six months into my first year of residency as a doctor. And my experience so far has been sorrowfully screen-dominated. If aliens were to come down and observe a day in the life, I am afraid they’d assume the computer is the patient and the […]

Suicide in medical school

Trevor Klee Cambridge, MA (Winter 2017)   Sorrowing Old Man (At Eternity’s Gate), 1890, Vincent Van Gogh.  Depression and suicide are difficult subjects to write about because they are unpleasant and have at least a faint tinge of moral failure. Moreover, the enormity of the feelings involved dwarfs the attempts to portray them in writing. […]

The missing chapter in our curriculum

Alexandra Adams Hershey, Pennsylvania (Winter 2017)   A maternity nurse examines a pregnant patient at a rural community health center in northern Uganda. Photo by Alexandra Adams. The rural village of Paimol in northern Uganda, located four hours away from the nearest hospital.  Photo by Alexandra Adams.   A fourteen-year-old girl, large with child, presented to her […]

Pushing back at perceptions of epilepsy: the interplay between medicine and literature in three 19th-century British novels

Laura Fitzpatrick Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, United States   If I wished to show a student the difficulties of getting at truth from medical experience, I would give him the history of epilepsy to read. —Oliver Wendell Holmes, 1891.1 As the nineteenth century dawned, the average Briton still understood epilepsy much in the […]