Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: May 2021

  • Boccaccio’s Decameron in the world of the coronavirus pandemic

    Mateja Lekic Phoenix, Arizona, United States   A Tale from the Decameron, by John William Waterhouse, 1916. Source. Licensed for Public Use. Giovanni Boccaccio wrote the Decameron after the carnage of the bubonic plague in the late 1340s.1 Caused by the highly virulent bacterium Yersinia pestis, the bubonic plague, or Black Death, killed an estimated one quarter…

  • Knock, or The Triumph of Medicine

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Louis Jouvet and André Dalibert in Knock, by Guy Lefranc (1951) “The man who feels well is actually sick and doesn’t know it.” —Dr. Knock   Jules Romains (1885-1972), author of the play Knock, or the Triumph of Medicine, was a novelist, poet, essayist, playwright, and short story writer. He…

  • Achilles and his famous tendon

    Krzyś StachakBielsko-Biala, Poland The Achilles tendon is one of the best-known parts of the human body not only because of its name but also because injuries to it are so common. As the largest tendon in the body, it connects the heel bones to the calf muscles and allows vertical movement of the foot, so…

  • Sir John Pringle, public health and military medicine pioneer

    Sir John Pringle. Oil painting. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) At the end of the eighteenth century, Scottish doctors were more popular with patients than English ones because “their useful knowledge contrasted with the ornamental learning of English physicians who were Anglican or Oxbridge trained.”1 By 1825 almost 70% of all fellows…

  • The medieval hospitals of County Durham

    Stephen Martin County Durham, UK   Fig 1. Durham Cathedral, gate of Benedictine Priory, exterior, built by Prior Castell, 1494-1519. Photo © author, 2021, permission for academic & non-commercial reuse. County Durham in the northeast of England is rich in the atmospheric remains and documented history of medieval hospitals, all connected with the church. Looking…

  • A day in Texas

    Steven Perez Virginia, United States   A photo of Steven J. Perez, MD, 2010, New York City. Photographer: Margie Eyman Perez. Published with permission. It was the late 1980s. I had just been discharged from the Air Force and returned to my hometown of San Antonio, Texas, to look for an internal medicine practice to…

  • Book review: The Origins of Modern Science

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom Science and medicine have long been intertwined: many advances in the field of medicine would not have been possible without prior knowledge of fundamental science. It is not surprising, therefore, that a medical historian would also find the history of science fascinating. In this book, Ofer Gal has described the…

  • The Valsalva maneuver

    JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK   Fig 1. Valsalva’s maneuver. Source It is a paradox that the discovery of the Valsalva maneuver did not relate to cardiovascular physiology but to the treatment of discharges from the ear. Valsalva’s maneuver is now used physiologically1 to test cardiac and autonomic function, and in several other diagnostic and…

  • A walk with giants

    Herbert Ausubel Valley Stream, New York, United States   Herbert Ausubel HMS making rounds with Dr. Eliot Joslin the morning after Dr. Joslin underwent an appendectomy. Drawing by Dr. Ernest Greenberg and Louise Chiasson. Having had the opportunity to receive a medical education at Harvard Medical School, I was exposed to several individuals who were…

  • Nobel Laureate Surgeons

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States Mohammad Ezzi Jizan, Saudi Arabia   Originally published in the World Journal of Surgery and Surgical Research 2020; 3: 1206 under a Creative Commons Attribution License. Republished with author permission.   Introduction The Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine has been awarded to 219 scientists in the last 119…