Monthly Archives: February 2022

Nikolai Medtner: his forgotten melodies, music, and life

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States Nikolai Medtner recording for HMV, 1947. Photographer unknown, copyright controlled, courtesy of Warner Classics.   The music of Nikolai Medtner (1880 -1951) is among the most enigmatic of the piano repertoire. Medtner was an opinionated composer who admired Rachmaninoff and rejected all attempts at modernism in music. Rachmaninoff met […]

William Withering’s botanical microscope

JMS Pearce East Yorks, Hull, England   Fig 1. William Withering (left). Engraving by W. Bond after a painting by Carl Frederik von Breda, 1822. Public domain. Via Wellington Local Agenda 21 Group.  Frontispiece colored illustration of foxglove from An Account of the Foxglove by William Withering (right). Printed by M. Swinney for G. G. […]

“The trial” of Dr. Spock

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Spock Behind G.W. Library. Photo by Warren K. Leffler, October 15, 1969. U.S. News & World Report Magazine Photograph Collection, Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication.   “Medicine is a social science, and politics is nothing else but medicine on a large scale.”1 — Rudolf Virchow, M.D. (1821-1902) […]

Metastatic sarcoma

Tulsi Patel Chicago, Illinois, United States   His big regret was never building his son a trampoline, now locked away in the shed like some treasure chest he can’t open. Eyes welling up, he says to me proudly, resignedly “16 tumors” before he coughs up a river of rotten red roses. A Foot Bridge, North […]

Samuel Johnson: “the great convulsionary”

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom Samuel Johnson. Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1772. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   This paper reproduces in an abridged form an earlier article by its author1 appraising the evidence that Samuel Johnson suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. Several authors have commented on the many eccentricities of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Fig 1).2 […]

Love as illness: Symptomatology

Frank Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Sappho as imagined by Raphael in the fresco known as Parnassus in the Raphael rooms in the Palace of the Vatican (c. 1509-15 11). She appears in a corner of the fresco, holding a scroll with her name. From Wikipedia. Is love a disease? I mean […]

Wedding anniversary

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States Woman treating a patient in an intensive care unit. U.S. Government photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Ryan M. Breeden. U.S. Navy Medicine on Rawpixel. Public domain.   Things fall apart; the center cannot hold…and everywhere The ceremony of innocence is drowned… — W. B. Yeats, The […]

Happy hypoxia

Khyati Gupta Mumbai, India Scots Mission Hospital, Tiberias (Torrance). Hospital beds. Photo. Matson Collection, c. 1934-39. Library of Congress. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   Poet’s statement: Happy hypoxia is a poem I wrote while trying to capture the thoughts of a patient in solitude infected with coronavirus amidst the second wave of the pandemic.   […]

Movie review: The Hospital, “the wounded madhouse of our times”

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden Protesters in San Francisco. Photo by Rdmsf01. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0.   “Where do you train your nurses, Mrs. Christie, Dachau?” — Dr. Herbert Bock, The Hospital   The Hospital (1971) is a devastating satire about American medicine in the second half of the twentieth century. We see the functioning […]

A detailed depiction of a “crime scene” circa 1455

Daniel Gelfman Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   The use of forensic science to determine the etiology and manner of death has been attempted for millennia. Early autopsies involved inspection of the deceased individual and possibly an internal examination. The performance of autopsies has been greatly influenced by religious and political forces.1 There is a record […]