Tag Archives: Winter 2018

No laughing matter

Shafiqah Samarasam Subang Jaya, Malaysia   Portrait of Robin Williams. Creative Commons. “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.” These were the words of Robin Williams, the man whose own laughter was enough to make us laugh. In a world where tragedy occurs every day, his words helped us to […]

Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland

Rayda Aaishah Joomun Mauritius   Diagram A: Total Macrosomatognosia Author Dedication To Deelshad Reezuana, The most beautiful Alice I met, May you rest in peace in Wonderland…   “Thus grew the tale of Wonderland: / Thus slowly, one by one, / Its quaint events hammered out / And now the tale is done, / And home we steer, a […]

Bob Edwards and the perils of publicity

James Owen Drife Leeds, United Kingdom   Edwards (seated, left) and Steptoe brief the press at Oldham General Hospital after the birth of Louise Brown. A license to publish in Hektoen International has been obtained from Press Association Photos Limited, London. The physiologist Robert Edwards began thinking about human in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the 1950s and […]

The Brothers Grimm under the knife

Valerie Gribben San Francisco, California, USA    The fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm (1916). Magic-infused fairytales and modern medicine are intertwined as closely as the curving double helix of DNA. Do you doubt this? Well, let us start by acknowledging that the word “magic” has to a large degree regrettably lost its luster. “Magic” […]

A change in mindset

Asayya Imaya London, United Kingdom   “This is witchcraft,” my father said with authority. I had questions that I dared not ask; my father was a formidable and austere character. The terror he had instilled in me as a child was still palpable, and I still feared him as an adult. I am not sure […]

The hypocrisy of the advice-giver

Kathryn Taylor San Francisco, California, USA   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 bed. My vegetable […]

Pitch dark

Ochiche Nnenna Ijeoma Lagos, Nigeria    Pitch dark before midnight I had observed many surgical operations  as a medical student so I knew what to expect. The rules about changing clothes and footwear, the strict hand washing routine, the complex method of putting on the aprons, gowns, and gloves had been drummed into my ears […]

Finding a “New Orientation” in Mexican Public Health: the Servicio Médico-Social

Steve Server Chicago, Illinois, USA   The Palace of the Inquisition, the site of the old National Medical School, Plaza Santo Domingo, Mexico City In the 1935-1936 issue of the Mexican Public Health Department’s newsletter, Salubridad, the newly-minted Chief of the Department, Doctor and General José Siurob, offered a vision for the “new orientation for […]

The York Retreat

Beninio McDonough-Tranza London, United Kingdom   Painting of the York Retreat by George Isaac Sidebottom, a patient at the retreat in the 1890s and early 1900s. Image from the retreat archives (RET/2/1/7/5), courtesy of the Welcome Collection On 15 March 1790 Hannah Mills, a recently widowed young woman suffering from “melancholy,” was admitted to York Asylum. Less […]

Poppy power

John Graham-Pole Gainesville, Florida, USA   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 did Kubla Khan […]