Monthly Archives: July 2020

Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man

JMS Pearce England, UK   Second only to his Mona Lisa, the most famous drawing in the world of art is perhaps Leonardo da Vinci’s (1452–1519) Vitruvian Man. Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant girl. He was named after his birthplace Vinci (at Anchiano) near Florence. He became a painter, […]

Use of masks to control the spread of infection: more than a century of confusion

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   The above photograph is from the archives of the Cook County Hospital when it closed. It was taken in the surgical amphitheater in the main building. The year is not known. The photograph demonstrates an operation being carried out by masked and gowned surgeons and the scrub nurse […]

Sir Victor Horsley’s fatal blind spot

Faraze A. Niazi Jack E. Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States     Sir Victor Horsley. Photograph by G.C. Beresford. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind. -Robert Oxton Bolton Sir Victor Horsley is generally regarded as the […]

Using Latin to settle medical pronunciation debates

Raymond Noonan Brooklyn, New York, United States   Author’s note: Original Latin words are written in italics, with macrons (ā) indicating long vowels. Equivalent Latin-derived medical terms are given without italics. Acute accents (á) are sometimes used to indicate stress accent in both English and Latin. Informal phonetic spelling that should be familiar to most […]

Great expectations

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Summer Calm—image by the author “Doctor, I want you to treat her as a forty-year old!” What is the appropriate answer to a demand like that from a daughter about the treatment of her eighty-eight-year-old mother? Any suggestion that her mother might not do well even with the best treatment […]

The art of nursing

Isabelle J. St. John Milwaukee, WI   Cornelia Parker’s art piece appears as an explosion suspended in time, which effectively conveys how a nurse operates as an artist of care; nurses enter their patients’ lives at the moment of explosion, and they have the ability to suspend that explosion for a moment in time and […]

Deserving but unrecognized: the forty-first seat

Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   This gold medal is given to each laureate in literature. Each medal has one face that bears a profile of Alfred Nobel with his name and the date of his birth and death inscribed; the alternative side is unique to the discipline being honored. The medal […]

The Bengal tiger: Panthera tigris tigris

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States     The Indian subcontinent for millennia provided the ideal “jungle” habitat for the tiger. When the first Europeans arrived in India the animal was ubiquitous. At the close of the nineteenth century, when Kipling wrote The Jungle Books, 100,000 tigers were thought to roam the subcontinent. By […]

Rudyard Kipling and the medical profession

George Dunea James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois   Portrait of Rudyard Kipling from the biography Rudyard Kipling by John Palmer. 1907. Accessed via Wikimedia Born in Bombay but educated in England, the great master of the English language did not return to India until he was seventeen years old in 1882. He worked for local newspapers in […]

John S. Bristowe: Victorian physician and polymath

Arpan K. Banerjee  Solihull, UK   Photograph of John Syer Bristowe (1827–1895), English physician. G. Jerrard. 1895. Accessed via Wikimedia. John Syer Bristowe was a Victorian physician and polymath who served his alma mater, St. Thomas’ Hospital, with great distinction. He was born into a medical family on 19 June 1827 in Camberwell in Southeast […]