Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: May 2020

  • Hippocrates, abortion, and cutting for stone

    John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Two methods of lithotomic position recommended by Sushruta. From Mukhopadhyaya G. The surgical instruments of the Hindus. (vol 2) Calcutta University Press 1914 pp 79 – 80 [public domain] Physicians who take The Oath of Hippocrates swear not to perform abortions or operate for bladder stones: Similarly,…

  • African American contract doctors in the military

    Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   African American Soldiers in Cuba, 1898, Wikipedia In the spring of 1898, the United States rushed into a war with Spain but lacked adequate troops, training, weapons, transport, supplies, food, landing craft, and medical personnel. One deficit that could be corrected before the shooting started was the…

  • Dr. Fanny Halpern, a psychiatric go-between of 1930s Shanghai

    Richard Zhang Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “Dr. F.G. Halpern” in an advertisement for the Puci Sanatorium in the Shen Bao, September 20, 1935. source On September 20, 1935, a lengthy advertisement in one of Shanghai’s most popular newspapers, the Shen Bao, celebrated the recent opening of the Shanghai Puci Sanatorium (上海普濨療養院).1 The sanatorium would…

  • The times of Gaspare Tagliacozzi, founder of plastic surgery

    Portrait of Gaspare Tagliacozzi (1545-1599). 16th century. Collection Istituto Ortopedico Rizzoli, Bologna. Via Wikimedia. In his essay on Giovanni Battista Cortesi, recently reviewed in this Journal, Dr. Paolo Savoia refers to other surgeons who achieved prominence in sixteenth-century Italy. In medicine, as in the arts, progress had been abetted by an influx of Greek scholars…

  • The search for Eisenhower’s adrenal tumor

    Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1. Letter to KRL from the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology For most Americans, the knowledge of Dwight Eisenhower’s health history is limited to the fact that he had a serious heart attack while president. However, a seemingly casual comment by a non-physician political scientist, Robert…

  • Hölderlin’s madness

    Nicolas Robles Badajoz, Spain   The only representation on which Hölderlin looks people directly in the face – a pastel picture by Franz Karl Hiemerthat that the poet gave to his sister Rieke in 1792. According to his mother and sister, it does not resemble him. German Literature Archive, Marbach, Germany. Accessed via Wikimedia. Original:…

  • Ophthalmology in Regency era China: A portrait of Thomas Richardson Colledge by George Chinnery

    Stephen MartinThailand Thomas Richardson Colledge (1797-1879) was an ophthalmic surgeon who practiced in Macao, China, for a quarter of a century in the late Regency era. Colledge’s daughter, Frances Mary Martin (1847-1918) wrote a brief biography of him in 1880.1 It is an absorbing and touching account, and important in relation to an extraordinary medical…

  • A Tale of Two Tonics: Sino-Western psychopharmaceutical modernity in Shanghai, 1936

    Richard Zhang Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Advertisement for Sanatogen in the Shen Bao, October 25, 1936.  Source (accessed through Yale University).  Shanghai, 1936: Positioned at the Yangtze Delta, this sprawling, bustling seaport was a multiplicity of cities. It was China’s most lucrative commercial hub for many business elites; a lavish, cosmopolitan adopted home for expatriates from at…

  • The Schoolhouse Lab

    Edward McSweeganKingston, Rhode Island, United States “Black measles” was a common name for spotted fever, which regularly killed people in the western United States. Symptoms included a spotty rash on the extremities, fever, chills, headache, and photophobia. No one knew what caused it. The first recorded case in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley was in 1873.1 Twenty-three…

  • Dr. Peabody, the ideal medical practitioner

    Rachel BrightKevin QosjaLiam ButchartStony Brook, New York, United States Art not only imitates nature, but completes its deficiencies.—Aristotle, Physics A common complaint about medical students, doctors, and healthcare providers is that the scientific and technological progress of the last few decades has led them to neglect meaningful interactions, leaving patients bereft of the human touch—with…