Physicians of Note | Hektoen International

The “English Hippocrates” and the disease of kings

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois (Fall 2017)   Portrait of Thomas Sydenham, Mary Beale, 1688 Thomas Sydenham (1624-1689) is known as “The English Hippocrates” because of his detailed physical examinations, painstaking record keeping, and attention to the treatment of illness.1  At a time when the medical profession espoused theory and systemization, his belief in the […]

Caleb Hillier Parry

Despite a successful medical practice in the once fashionable town of Bath, Caleb Parry would be largely forgotten were it not that in 1786 he reported on five cases of exophalmic goiter. This was almost fifty years earlier than the better-known description by Robert Graves, leading to a later suggestion that Graves’ disease should really […]

How a bishop unwittingly kick-started the DNA revolution

William Kingston Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland (Spring 2017)   Ewald, Born, Heitler & Schrodinger 1943, outside 65 Merrion Square (then home of STP). Courtesy of DIAS. E. Schrodinger, 1955. Courtesy of the Irish Press. In 1943 a series of lectures was delivered in Trinity College, Dublin, which had profound scientific and medical consequences. Their title […]

Torsten Almén 1931-2016. Inventor of non-ionized contrast media.

Frank A. Wollheim  Lund, Sweden (Spring 2017)   Fig 1. Torsten Almén at work with his oboe. There were no signs of genius to impress us in any of the medical students at Lund in the fall of 1950, and certainly not in Torsten Almen. He seemed rather ordinary, somewhat shy and stuttering; and it […]

Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska: immigrant, physician, teacher

Cynthia Kramer Waianae, HI (Spring, 2017)   Marie Elizabeth Zakrzewska was a female physician and teacher, at a time when women were not taken seriously in the field of medicine by their male counterparts. She served as head midwife at the Royal Charite Hospital in Berlin, Germany,  then moved to the United States  and received […]

Moritz Romberg

  Like many other pioneers in the medical sciences, Moritz Romberg would hardly be remembered today were it not for his description of a test that just as Joseph Babinksi’s is still part of the routine neurologic examination. The Romberg test is deemed to be positive when the patient becomes unsteady on standing with feet […]

Thomas Hodgkin: the limits of idealism

Kirtan Nautiyal Houston, Texas (Spring 2017)   Thomas Hodgkin Thomas Hodgkin was born in 1798 into a middle class Quaker family then residing in Pentonville, a village north of London. His father was a private tutor and Hodgkin’s early education was also conducted at home, balancing instruction in the Quaker tenets of simplicity and social […]

Sir Samuel Wilks (1824-1911)

Sir Samuel  Wilks was one of the most influential English general physicians of the second half of the nineteenth century. He was a careful clinician and an accomplished investigator, always trying to correlate clinical and pathology findings. Author of seven books and fifteen separate articles or pamphlets, he wrote some 450 papers, including one defending […]

William Babington

William Hazlitt, in one of his many essays that used to be inflicted on long-suffering schoolchildren, reminded his readers that “posterity are by no means as disinterested as they are supposed to be. They give their gratitude and admiration only in return for benefits conferred. They cherish the memory of those to whom they are […]

Frances Oldham Kelsey: A medical profile in courage

Kevin E. Loughlin Boston, MA (Winter 2017)   Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey Source Her name has disappeared into the vault of medical history and her dedication to scientific rigor and patient safety has been largely forgotten. Yet her silent but tangible legacy continues to this day. Born in Canada in 1914, Frances Oldham Kelsey received […]