Monthly Archives: May 2020

Covid-19 and the mind: a short play

Catalina Florescu Hoboken, New Jersey, United States   Synchronized Mood by Oana Chivoiu, Assistant Professor at South Louisiana CC Characters: LOLA, late 40’s TORA, mid 40’s Setting: Two apartments in NYC. Imagine the dialogue happening in two balconies or, for a more absurd take, the same apartment divided by French doors. Time: During the historic […]

A Cold War Vaccine: Albert Sabin, Russia, and the oral polio vaccine

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Albert Sabin (second from left) and Mikhail Chumakov (third from left). Credit: Courtesy Hauck Center for the Albert B. Sabin Archives, Henry R. Winkler Center for the History of the Health Professions, University of Cincinnati Libraries. Fair Use. In the midst of the 2020 Covid–19 pandemic, when […]

Joseph Merrick, “The Elephant Man”

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. The Elephant man and other reminiscences As a specimen of humanity, Merrick was ignoble and repulsive; but the spirit of Merrick, if it can be seen in the form of the living, would assume the figure of an upstanding and heroic man . . .6 The […]

Regalia

Nancy L. Hagood Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Rainbow over Haiti. Photo by Thomas Johnston. My medical school graduation regalia has hung in my closet for two years. It will never be worn. In spring 2019, I was a fourth-year medical student, planning to graduate in May and move 500 miles north to work […]

Applause: reflections on The Plague and being a doctor in a pandemic

Roger Ruiz Moral Universidad Francisco de Vitoria. Madrid, Spain   Quote from the English version of The Plague by Albert Camus in the Library Walk (New York City). Accessed via Wikimedia. Sculpture by Gregg LeFevre. Photo by Heike Huslage-Koch/Lesekreis.  “I imagine then what the plague must be for you. Yes, – said Rieux – an endless defeat.”1 The COVID-19 lockdown is today […]

Animality revisited in times of the coronavirus: A fable

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Jacob Savery (1566-1603). Orpheus among the animals. From Wikimedia. Imagine, as painters have done, representatives of animal species congregated in an assembly (Fig. 1). A man comes to address this motley crowd in this way: “You guys [he purposefully adopts this condescending language] have recently wronged […]

Locked down!

P. Ravi Shankar Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   Art by Devika Allath, Year 8, Willoughby Girls High School, Sydney, Australia, 13-year-old niece of the author. The sun was about to rise on another day of lockdown. At the beginning of a new day there is a vague sense of optimism, but that is followed by an […]

Strange complications of vaccination

In this caricature James Gillray makes fun of the supposed complications of using the cowpox vaccine to prevent patients from getting the smallpox. Several people are shown having cows emerge from their hands, mouths, or buttocks, or develop horns that sprout from their heads. This is obviously not a very safe vaccine! The Cow-Pock – […]

Ode to my stethoscope

Hilton Koppe Lennox Head, Australia   Poet’s note My Littman stethoscope has accompanied me on my journey in medicine across five decades into premature medical retirement. It was definitely more difficult to lay down my stethoscope than it had been for me to recommend medical retirement to many of my patients. This poem includes a […]

Dr. Samuel Sarphati

Annabelle Slingerland Leiden, the Netherlands   Amsterdam Situation 19th century, image taken from the more extensive video in English by director Fabian Krausz. Times of confusion and uncertainty can also be fruitful grounds for seeds to root, rise, and bloom. One such seed was Dr. Samuel Sarphati, who created New Amsterdam on the banks of […]