Monthly Archives: February 2020

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HONORING THE WORK OF THE RED CROSS Published on May, 2020 H E K T O R A M A     .   ALL BLOOD RUNS RED Clara Barton The American Red Cross (ARC) is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other disasters. Based on […]

An unseen border

T.Y. Euliano Gainesville, Florida, United States   Eyes of the Master. Photo by Steve Robicsek, MD/PhD. 11/6/2004. Permission granted by the artist. “Please let me have the chest pain in 3,” I said. “I can’t take any more whiny kids today.” Clare raised an eyebrow. “You can have the next trauma.” “Two traumas,” she said. […]

The African Savannah

Steve Ablon Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts   Photo by Steve Ablon Forty years ago, my father wore his safari hat, squinted through binoculars, told us those giraffes, the dark ones, are older,   and soon will not be able to outrun lions or will break a leg, be eaten. That is the cycle of life he […]

Heterozygous Advantage: how one deadly disease prevents another

Neal Krishna Boston, Massachusetts, United States   An allegory of malaria. Process print after M. Sand. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Of all the genetic disorders to which man is known to be a victim, there is no other that presents an assemblage of problems and challenges quite comparable to sickle […]

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EPIDEMICS Published in March, 2020 H E K T O R A M A   . The recent coronavirus outbreak inevitably brings to mind the Spanish flu, the deadly influenza pandemic of a century ago. Here we republish seven articles about this devastating viral disease that spread to the four corners of the world, killing […]

The other Charles Darwin (1758-1778)

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Erasmus Darwin and William Withering. “Precursoritis” is the bane of historiography.” – Stephen Jay Gould   One of the best-known and important discoveries in the practice of medicine was the introduction of digitalis by William Withering (Fig 1). It was the subject of controversy that involved […]

John Arbuthnot: physician, wit, and creator of John Bull

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Portrait of Arbuthnot on reprint of John Bull In the light of recent British parliamentary chaos, by chance I discovered this irresistible quotation: “All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies” -John Arbuthnot At a time when in most westernized countries physicians and […]

Mustard: history of the yellow seed

Carol Sherman Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. The Sign from the Mustard Museum. Photo taken by Douglas R. Siefken, August 15th, 2019. Provided for this article. The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, Wisconsin1 describes itself as having over 5,600 mustards. They originate from all fifty states of the United States and from more […]

Letting go of logic

Nimisha Bajaj Columbus, Ohio, United States   Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci. Photo by Paris Orlando. November 2019. Public Domain “He’s here for aspiration pneumonia. He doesn’t want a G-tube even though we tried to explain to him that if he continues to eat and drink by mouth, this will keep happening and he will […]

Drawing blood: depictions of transfusion in contemporary arts

Diana-Andreea Novaceanu Bucharest, Romania   The history of blood transfusion has unfolded in stages, first from experiments on animals, then from animal to human, and finally to transfusion between humans. The subject, in all its intricacy, has been captured by medical illustrators and painters throughout the centuries. Over the course of the last decades, attitudes […]