Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Intubation for diphtheria

In 1904 diphtheria was a dangerous killer that suffocated its victims by obstructing the respiratory passages and sometimes required an emergency but dangerous surgical tracheostomy. In this painting a specialist in infectious diseases is avoiding tracheostomy by inserting a tube to bypass the obstruction. He is observed intently by interested physicians, all watching this new technique that would save the life of this child.

The intubation (le tubage). 1904. Georges Chicotot. Musee de l’Assistance Publique, Paris.


The painting is by Georges Chicotot, himself a physician but also an artist. He painted several medical scenes, often in tableaux in which he himself is present. He received much recognition for his work during his lifetime, and in 1922 was awarded the Légion d’honneur.




Spring 2020  |  Sections  |  Infectious Diseases

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