Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: March 2017

  • Pantaleon or Pantaleimon—A most noble physician

    Maria MonteiroPorto, Portugal As information about the life of Saint Pantaleon is entangled with tradition, it difficult to distinguish myth from facts. Nevertheless, according to several sources, Pantaleon was born c. AD 275, son of the rich pagan Eustorgius of Nicomedia. His name means “a lion in everything.” Later he would be renamed Pantaleímon (from…

  • About face: From revulsion to compassion

    Sylvia R. KarasuNew York City, New York, United States “I was too ugly to go to school,” writes Lucy Grealy in her painful memoir Autobiography of a Face.1 At the age of nine, Grealy was diagnosed with a rare Ewing’s sarcoma of her jaw that necessitated disfiguring surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. “I was my face,”…

  • Hume and autism-causing vaccines

    Trevor Klee Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States   A portrait of the delightfully corpulent David Hume.  Ramsay, Allan. David Hume, 1711-1776. Historian and philosopher. 1766. Scottish National Portrait Gallery. 8 In 1998 the British medical researcher Andrew Wakefield announced a startling discovery in one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals, The Lancet. He had found that…

  • Frances Oldham Kelsey: A medical profile in courage

    Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Dr. Frances Oldham Kelsey.3 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 a…

  • Waiting for results

    Susan Anderson Madison, Wisconsin, United States       Time displayed on clock. Submission by Susan Anderson You do not realize you have been holding your breath for weeks, until you see the new email hinting the results are in. You do not realize the tension you are feeling because you have put all feelings…

  • A year in oblivion – an artistic journey

    Mara Buck Windsor, Maine, United States   My grandmother had a saying, “What is, is. What ain’t, ain’t.” Simplistic to the core, but truth often is just that. Her saying did not apply to cancer because cancer did not run in our family. That is, not before me. It has been a couple decades since…

  • Mixing medicine – Religion and science

    Aneesa BodiatSouth Africa The ameer chewed on the dry date my husband had presented to him, saying a prayer and then placing the chewed fruit back into the container, sealing it for use in a few days when my baby boy would be born. This particular ameer or religious leader was from Medina, the holy…

  • Music and the brain

    Rayda Joomun Mauritius   “The piano keys are black and white but they sound like a million colours in your mind” – Maria Cristina Mena Music  brings a smile to our faces. Yet this abstract entity has no conventional defining criteria. Proust acknowledged this: “Music helped me to descend into myself, to discover new things; the…

  • Was the Mozart Effect evident before the birth of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart?

    Harishnath RamachandranEngland, United Kingdom “Rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” – Plato The word music is derived from the Greek word “mousike”, meaning art of the muses. It is considered a form of entertainment combining a collection of sounds to form pleasurable tunes.  A large chunk of the music…

  • Physician: study thyself

    Susan HurleyVictoria, Australia In 2016 one man died and five others suffered brain damage during a drug trial in Rennes, France.1 A similar disaster occurred during the 2006 London trial of a novel monoclonal antibody: six men experienced an immediate systemic inflammatory response and became critically ill with multi-organ failure.2 These tragedies are a poignant…