Monthly Archives: June 2022

A poet for a patient: a tenth century poem by al Mutanabbi

Sama Alreddawi Barry Meisenberg Annapolis, Maryland, United States   “The Night Visitor”1 …عَليـلُ الجِسـمِ مُمتَنِـعُ القِـيـامِ شَديدُ السُكرِ مِـن غَيـرِ المُـدامِ …وزَائِرَتـي كَـأَنَّ بِهـا حَـيـاءً فَلَيـسَ تَـزورُ إِلّا فـي الظَـلامِ بَذَلتُ لَها المَطـارِفَ وَالحَشايـا… فَعافَتهـا وَباتَـت فـي عِظامـي يَضيقُ الجِلدُ عَن نَفسـي وَعَنهـا… فَتوسِـعُـهُ بِـأَنـواعِ السِـقـامِ …إِذا مـا فارَقَتـنـي غَسَّلَتـنـي كَأَنّـا عاكِفـانِ عَلـى حَــرامِ كَأَنَّ […]

Ragging

P. Ravi Shankar Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   Photo by Nathan Wright on Unsplash. The corridor was long, narrow, and brightly painted. The carpet was torn in a few places and the red wall paint was beginning to peel off. Sixteen of us walked through the corridor into the restaurant. The food was tasty, but we […]

Book review: The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of The Imaginary Patient: How Diagnosis Gets Us Wrong. Making the right diagnosis is central to the medical encounter. A doctor always started off by taking a history, examining the patient, and sometimes performing additional tests. But when a creditable diagnosis could not be made, the medical profession […]

Beans: an indelicate subject of conversation

  Beans from Nepal. Crop of photo by Gaurav Dhwaj Khadka on Wikimedia. CC BY 4.0. Anatomy books describe kidneys as bean shaped, but the converse does not apply. This is because beans, multitudinous in their species, come in different shapes and sizes. Many look like small kidneys, but only one is called a kidney […]

Diagnosis: Neurosyphilis. Treatment: Malaria, iatrogenic

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Patient in Kettering hypertherm cabinet undergoing fever therapy. New Orleans, 1937. U.S. Marine Hospital. Works Progress Administration photo. New Orleans Public Library Digital Collections via Wikimedia. Public domain. “The syphilitic man was thinking hard…about how to get his legs to step off the curb and carry him across Washington Street. […]

Denis Parsons Burkitt

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. 7-year-old boy with Burkitt’s lymphoma involving his right mandible (A) before treatment and (B) after treatment by Burkitt.3   Aphorisms from wise medical men and women have fallen out of fashion. Because each line is to a degree debatable, one of my favorites is: Attitudes are more important […]

Ladies in hats

Alan Blum Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States   I was encouraging an overweight patient in patent leather shoes with two-inch heels to start wearing sneakers instead, when she calmly reached into her totebag and pulled out a pair of Nikes. The pumps, she explained, were her “comin’-to-the-doctor shoes.” Her finest footwear was a sign of respect. […]

A tale of three doctors

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Early print of an execution by guillotine, as proposed by Dr. Guillotin. Jean-François Janinet, c. 1789–1791. Musée Carnavalet, Histoire de Paris via Wikimedia. Public domain. “How true it is that it is difficult to benefit mankind without some unpleasantness resulting for oneself.” – Dr. Edme-Claude Bourru, giving Dr. Guillotin’s eulogy […]

Garlic in medicine and at dinner

  Garlic. Photo by Amin on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Garlic (Allium sativum) is a bulbous flowering plant that belongs to the same genus as onions, shallots, chives, and leeks. Its bulbous part consists of 65% water, carbohydrates, organosulfur compounds, protein, and free amino acids. It also produces a substance called allicin which gives it […]

Early surgery of meningocele

JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Spinal dysraphism. c. AD 200. From Goodrich, J.T.1 A variety of dysraphic states, recorded since antiquity, (Fig 1)1 are caused by the failed closure of the neural tube during the fourth week of embryonic life. They include hydrocephalus, Chiari malformations, and various types of spina bifida with meningocele […]