Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: July 2022

  • Patients without borders: Cardiac surgery, activism, and advocacy

    Annabelle SlingerlandLeiden, Netherlands In the 1970s, a “patients without borders” organization made it possible for people with severe heart disease to be flown to other countries for treatment that was unavailable in their home country. It was a decade after Christiaan Barnard had pioneered heart transplantation in South Africa, and although most patients did not…

  • Book review: How the NHS Coped with COVID-19

    Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover of How the NHS Coped with COVID-19 by Ellen Welch. This work is a timely and important contribution to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc worldwide. Following the cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, things…

  • Franz Liszt and Lisztomania: “Le concert, c’est moi”

    Elizabeth ColledgeJacksonville, Florida, United States Much has been written about the hysteria accompanying Beatlemania, and before that, the frenzies generated by Elvis, Sinatra, and similar artists, primarily musicians. But before the Beatles, before Elvis, before Frank, there was Franz Liszt, whose 1844 concert in Berlin shocked the musical world and generated the term and medical…

  • Dr. Doyen separates conjoined twins in 1902

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “They were so close to each other that they preferred death to separation.”– Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude Eugène Louis Doyen, M.D. (1859–1916), was an internationally known Parisian surgeon. He was a “skilled and innovative physician,”1 famous for his dexterity and the speed of his operations.2 He wrote a…

  • Allowing my death—a delusory end-of-life decision

    Wolfgang Lederer Innsbruck, Austria   Photo by Chen Mizrach on Unsplash.  Together with the gift of life, I have received its finiteness, its perishability. As death is inescapable, when might I allow my life to end? Certainly, my life expectancy has to be longer than average, and I demand good physical and mental health right…

  • Henry Miller

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Henry Miller. From the author’s personal collection. There are many eminent figures in the worlds of medicine and neurology, most of them distinguished by their clinical skill, academic prowess, scientific originality, or success in establishing major institutes of teaching and research. Henry Miller (1913–1976), though not a laboratory investigator, was…

  • Walter Edward Dandy

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Walter Edward Dandy (left) and Harvey Cushing (right). Dandy from Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Portrait Collection.2 In the history of American neurosurgery, two names stand out from the rest: Harvey Cushing (1869–1939) and Walter Edward Dandy (1886–1946). Sadly, they were inveterate rivals. Dandy was undoubtedly a brilliant pioneer…

  • Movie review: Première Année (The Freshmen)

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   “Never memorize something you can look up.” – Albert Einstein “If you’re going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill   Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash. Première Année (literally “First Year”) is a 2018 French film. In it, we meet and follow two young men in their first year of…

  • The tomato in medicine and the Bloody Mary

    Tomatoes and a Pewter Tankard on a Table. Oil painting by Paul Gauguin, 1883. art-Gauguin.com. No known restrictions on publication. The tomato first grew on the slopes of the Andes Mountains in present-day Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru, where it was neither cultivated nor eaten but perhaps used as a flavoring agent. It was transplanted…

  • Rapid testing for the masses

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece Ten young girls are queueing outside the makeshift surgery. They are between eleven and fifteen, they wear face masks, they giggle and tease each other and try to encourage the timid ones before the coming ordeal. What is this going to be? Their first visit to a gynecologist? Nothing so memorable. They…