Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: August 2017

  • Doctor bites policeman in Chicago religious dispute

    The episode took place in Chicago about half a century ago. At the time some 100,000 Ukrainians lived in the greater Chicago area, mostly in a near-west neighborhood referred to as the Ukrainian village. They were mostly (c.70%) Catholics of the Byzantine or Eastern rite, adhering to the old Julian calendar and celebrating Christmas and…

  • Anatomical fugitive sheets revived: medical history as a stimulant for active learning and reflection

    Goran Štrkalj and William HuntSydney, Australia Anatomy has traditionally been one of the foundation disciplines within the medical curricula.1 At the same time, it has been one of the most challenging subjects, both intellectually and emotionally. It also has a complex and controversial history burdened with occasional cultural and ethical transgression, particularly in the way…

  • Life of a blanket in the medical center

    Fredna DeCarlo Missouri City, Texas, United States   I am fresh and new, without the scent of laundry detergent yet, waiting on the shelf to begin my life as a blanket in the Medical Center. Here we go! I feel hands that are smooth, their owner is in a hurry, but suddenly she slows, her…

  • Katherine Anne Porter and the 1918 influenza epidemic

    Cristóbal S. Berry-CabánFort Bragg, North Carolina, United States In Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Katherine Anne Porter weaves the horrors of the Great War, the 1918 influenza pandemic, and the near-death experience of a young woman in love with a doomed American soldier into a memorable novella.1 Porter was born on May 15, 1890, in the…

  • Cheeseburgers and cursewords

    Sara Gody Jackson Bybee Salt Lake City, Utah   I hardly recognized him. The photograph in his hospital record taken two years prior boasts a thirty-seven-year-old man with a full face, short reddish hair and a twinkle in his eyes. Now he reclines passively in bed, his face sallow, cheek bones protruding like the pointy…

  • Classicism and Sir Charles Bell’s Engravings of the Nerves

    Allister NeherMontreal, Quebec, Canada Readers of medical humanities journals have become accustomed to seeing articles on anatomical illustration and its indebtedness to the techniques and conventions of the fine arts. As diverse as connections between these two areas can be, they are often more complicated than we might expect, especially when we examine the circumstances…

  • Defining dead

    Arya Shah Rochester, MN, USA   Park Point Trail The checklist of death was foreign to me when I first ran down its list. It’s hard to describe that encounter with death, but let’s see if I can convey the gist. It started on a bright summer morning. A boy woke up for a day…

  • Is Daddy a good doctor?

    Gregory W Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio   Tears at Calling Hours George Lundberg posed an intriguing question for a generation of physicians: why don’t more doctors go to the funerals or calling hours of their patients?1 In fact, he boldly predicted that the only funeral you can be sure your physician will attend will be that of his…

  • Patrick Branwell Brontë (1817–1848): A tale of aspiration and decline

    JMS PearceHull, England On the bleak, rocky, windswept Yorkshire moors is the famous Brontës’ parsonage of St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Haworth. Here the celebrated Brontë sisters wrote their varied poetry and tales of romance, repressed passions, and frustrated love. This year (2017) marks 200 years since the birth of their brother, Patrick Branwell…

  • Treating thunderbirds

    Ananya Mahapatra New Delhi, India   Setting the mind free  The cacophony of the psychiatric ward  paused for a moment as a young woman was ushered in by two hospital attendants and her frail, frightened  mother. She laughed garishly and cussed in rural vernacular with wild abandon. She spoke in loud unapologetic spurts, like pennies…