Monthly Archives: June 2018

The Monros: a medical dynasty

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Figure 1. John Monro In medieval times Celtic life was based on a clan system of lineage in certain territories. Each clan had a chief, kinsmen, and families who worked and lived on their lands. The treatment of illness within the entire clan was the responsibility of a […]

Percussion of the chest: Leopold Auenbrugger

Percussion for examination of the chest was first described in 1754 in a little book written in Latin as “a new discovery that enables the physician from the percussion of the human thorax to detect the diseases hidden within the chest.” At publication the book was ignored and percussion received little attention until popularized decades […]

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 […]

Sir Charles Symonds 1890-1978 , the neurologist’s neurologist

There was a time when medical practitioners in England would refer their difficult cases to a neurologist paid by the health services to come once a week to consult at the local hospital. Faced with a difficult or puzzling case, this consultant neurologist would send the patient to be seen at the National Hospital for […]

New opioid epidemic: another long day’s journey

Carol Levine New York, New York, United States   Papaver somniferum  (opium poppy) D. G. J. M. Bois (1896-97) Edmund Tyrone, age 23 (August 1912, New London, Connecticut) “It’s pretty hard to take at times, having a dope fiend for a mother!” From Long Day’s Journey into Night by Eugene O’Neill, Act III1   Alexis […]

The feast of health: the Christian legacy of Hygeia

Wilson F. Engel, III Gilbert, Arizona, United States   Figure 1. The Fall and Expulsion of Adam and Eve, 1510 AD. Michelangelo, Fresco, Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome.   Michelangelo’s famous fresco in the Sistine Chapel (Figure 1) shows the serpent tempting Eve on the left, and the archangel Raphael expelling Adam and Eve from the Garden of […]

“Without dissent”: early black physicians in Alabama

A.J. Wright Birmingham, Alabama, USA   Burgess Scruggs 2 Cornelius Nathaniel Dorsette 3 Hale Infirmary, Montgomery, Alabama 4 Halle Tanner Dillon 5 Alabama Medical Association Votes to Admit Negroes 1 There is a brief but interesting note in the July 1953 issue of the Journal of the National Medical Association, the official voice of the organization founded in 1895 for African-American […]

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 […]

St. Mary’s Hospital, birthplace of penicillin

Anabelle S. Slingerland Leiden, Netherlands Kevin Brown London, England     Lithograph of St. Mary’s Hospital, 1853  On April 23, 2018, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge left the Lindo Wing of St. Mary’s Hospital in London with their new baby boy. Fans of the Royals, who had been camping outside St. Mary’s for […]

Beginnings of bedside teaching in Padua: Montanus

      “Medical historians seem to agree that the first teacher of medicine to instruct his students at the bedside was Giovanni Batista de Monte (1498-1552), better known by his Latin name of Montanus. In 1543 Montanus was appointed to the Chair of Medicine at the University of Padua, a state institution of the […]