Monthly Archives: February 2023

The middle zone

Alfred David Port Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria   Muscles of an écorché figure, shown from head to buttock, seen from behind. Crayon manner print by Lavalée after J. Gamelin, 1778/1779. Wellcome Collection. Public domain. What sacrifices must be made in order to practice medicine? Choosing to study medicine is never a choice that should made lightly. […]

“You will be alright”

Swetha Kannan Ajman, United Arab Emirates   Photo by Edwintp on PxHere “Will my daughter be alright?” asked the anxious mother, trying to hold back her tears. A young girl in her early twenties, so petite and frail that her body seemed to be like a sole pearl in a large sea. Her worrisome eyes […]

Wounded healer

Brandon Muncan Stony Brook, New York   Jaques-Louis David. Belisarius Begging for Alms. 1781. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Since Plato, the notion of a sufferer helping the suffering has been proposed as one of the more skillful ways of helping a patient through an illness.1 Although this concept has been discussed since the time of […]

Dr. David Hartley and the benevolent AI

Erik Anderson Houston, Texas   Leftmost image: Portrait of David Hartley by Schakelton. National Library of Medicine. Public domain. Right images: AI-generated art of David Hartley, created with Night Café on February 2, 2023, using text prompts (e.g., “David Hartley physician and philosopher”) and/or the portrait of David Hartley as inputs. Fair use. Question posed […]

The fainting medical student

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Abandoned. Painting by James Tissot, c.1881–2. Via Bridgeman Images on Fine Art America. Public domain. “Fall backward if you faint, and not across the patient.”1 – Surgeon Sir Lancelot Sprat, in the film Doctor in the House   The squeamishness of the beginning medical student or intern during the dissection […]

Is a bigger brain better?

Matimba Molly Chilala Ndola, Zambia   Artwork by Pixexid. CC BY 4.0. Does intelligence depend on the size and dimensions of the brain? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, intelligence can be defined as the ability to understand or deal with novel or trying situations. It is also described as a mental quality that consists of […]

The two Sylvius anatomists

Buried deep in the cobwebs of medical history lies the persisting misconception that a single person called Sylvius made important advances in the discipline of anatomy. But in fact, there were two persons remembered by that name. There was Jacobus, whose name is most commonly linked to the Aqueduct of Sylvius, and there was Franciscus, […]

Jean-Françoise Champollion—Revisiting his illnesses and death

Maureen Hirthler Richard Hutchison Bradenton, Florida   Portrait of Champollion (1790–1832). Oil painting by Léon Cognie1, 1831. Louvre Museum. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. “I’ve found it!” In 1822, Jean-Françoise Champollion (December 23, 1790 – March 4, 1832) told his brother he had a breakthrough in deciphering the Rosetta Stone, then collapsed to the floor. He […]

A day in the team room

Kirin Saint Ann Arbor, MI   Artwork courtesy of Zoe Black Today is Monday, May 2. The day starts before the sun has risen, before pink-lavender hues warm the earth, as two internal medicine interns slink in, yawning and bleary eyed, careful not to spill their coffee onto their well-worn scrubs. The residents stride into […]

A pandemic of emotions: Navigating vaccine hesitancy in a post-pandemic world

Nidhi Bhaskar Providence, Rhode Island   Photo by CDC on Pexels Four years before the COVID-19 pandemic, I was registering community members at a local health fair. An elderly man in line mentioned that he would never receive a flu shot because his healthy cousin had died of an aneurysm after receiving one. I spoke […]