Tag Archives: Doctors Patients and Diseases

“The GBM in Room 9”: on the objectifying power of naming and diagnosing

Atara Messinger Toronto, Ontario, Canada   French literary theorist and philosopher Maurice Blanchot (1907-2003) I wheeled the patient through the double doors into the operating room. As I parked the hospital bed next to the operating table, I quickly glanced at the patient’s chart. NAME: ‘J.’ AGE: 28. HISTORY: Progressive headaches, visual changes, and right-sided […]

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   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.” Well, almost exactly. […]

Aspects of distancing

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   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 three months […]

People or numbers: healing and efficiency

Damiano Rondelli Chicago, Illinois, USA   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 the life style, […]

In the beginning: the bible’s solution to obesity

Josie Hulme North Ogden, Utah, United States   “Feasting on the word of God” takes on another meaning when searching the scriptures for instruction on healthy eating. By Emma Hulme One Bible story clearly related to health is that of Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, had conquered the people of Judah and brought many Israelites back […]

Uncertainty and clinical truths

Anjan Banerjee Cambridgeshire, UK   “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 each other […]

Beyond medicine

Jessica A. Tang Chicago, Illinois, United States   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 something traumatic […]

Scarification: harmful cultural practice or vehicle to higher being?

Kenneth Michael Felsenstein National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, Maryland, United States (Winter 2014) Scarification is the act of “covering, disguising and transforming the body”1 by creating wounds in one’s own flesh in order to cause indelible markings. It is perhaps one of the most misunderstood body modification procedures done today, largely perceived in Western society as a […]

Healing through laughter

Farrah Bui Princeton University, New Jersey, United States (Winter 2014) Laughing boy, c. 1625 Frans Hals Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis, The Hague “If there is one thing to know about me, it’s that I refuse to ever eat honey again,” Ben explains to the audience. Immediately, looks of confusion and raised eyebrows appear among the […]