Monthly Archives: October 2017

Birthday party

Laura White Rochester, Minnesota, United States   I scan the chemotherapy data into the computer system, noting the date of birth listed at the top right of the screen. Happy birthday, I say, hanging the bag of liquid on the IV pole. Thanks, he replies, and we share a contemptuous laugh. It feels like a […]

The dying room

Gregory O’Gara New Jersey, United States   Gregory O’Gara Turbulent Souls, 2017 Oil on canvas Private collection The first Sunday in December was a typical winter day; cold but clear, leafless trees, overcast sky. It was the kind of morning I dreaded as a child, having to get out of bed and go to the […]

“I shouldn’t know you again if we did meet”: prosopagnosia

Sylvia Karasu New York City, New York, United States   Figure 1. Chuck Close, Self-Portrait (1997) (Museum of Modern Art, New York City) Watching Black Narcissus, the eerily unsettling film1 about an order of nuns cloistered in an isolated, windswept convent perched within the Himalayas, I am struggling to differentiate one nun from another.  I see […]

Antonio Scarpa, anatomist (1752-1832)

Students graduating from a university not uncommonly leave and seek employment elsewhere, but by the excellence of their work attain great fame and as such repay their alma mater for their early education. This was the case of Antonio Scarpa. Entering the University of Padua at age fifteen, he studied under the famous Battista Morgagni […]

Ghabeleh Hamleh

Suzi Ehtesham-Zadeh Woodstock, Georgia, United States   The refugee camp at night The pounding in Amana’s temples will not let up and is  beginning to scare her. She has had headaches before, but this is different—it feels like something foreign has invaded her body and is occupying every square inch of it, from the tips […]

Foundations of anatomy in Bologna

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Figure 1. Dissecting table, Bologna Home to the oldest western university,1 the University of Bologna was founded in 1088 and was a center of intellectual life during the Middle Ages, attracting scholars from throughout Europe. The University began as a law school. Medical teaching started circa 1156 and was […]

The “English Hippocrates” and the disease of kings

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   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 […]

George Orwell and the ethics of dealing in or dealing with cigarettes

Lynn T. Kozlowski Buffalo, NY, United States   Early in World War II, George Orwell wrote the essay “England, my England,” commenting that as he was writing “highly civilized human beings” were flying overhead trying to kill him: They do not feel any enmity against me as an individual, nor I against them. They are […]

Alabama and the healing of memories

Jack Coulehan  Stony Brook, New York, United States   Hospital ward, circa 1969. T.S. Eliot’s poem “Burnt Norton” begins with the famous lines: “Time present and time past / Are both perhaps present in time future, / And time future contained in time past.” 1My memories  are a part of my present experience. I recall […]