Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Month: May 2024

  • Lonely physician

    Dean GianakosLynchburg, Virginia, United States Jack wakes up early Sunday morning to walk along the Carolina shore. The sand feels cool under his bare feet. He passes a fisherman preparing flies for his pole. He stops to watch the brilliant orange sun rise over the horizon. The blue green ocean is still. Gently kicking the…

  • Forty years a watchdog: Sidney Wolfe, M.D.

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Somebody has to look out for the people who are being manipulated by hospitals, doctors, insurance and drug companies.”– Sidney Wolfe, MD, 1993 Sidney Wolfe, MD, (1937–2024) was the co-founder in 1971 of the Health Research Group (HRG), a consumer and health advocacy lobbying organization. After earning his medical degree from what…

  • On rival priority in publishing

    JMS PearceHull, England Rival claims for priority in describing diseases or related investigations are only too common. Such vexing disputes are neither recent nor confined to medicine and science. An early example of publication rivalry is in Vergil’s Proverbiorum Libellus (Venice, 1498), often known as the Adagia, the first collection of Latin proverbs, which preceded…

  • Mumps: Dolor et tumor

    Mumps usually occurs in outbreaks, most often between the ages of 5–9, usually in the winter and spring in temperate climates but at any time in the tropics. After infecting the upper respiratory tract, this contagious virus spreads to the salivary glands, the lymph nodes, the blood, and throughout the body. Symptoms at first are…

  • Andronicus III, malaria, and Byzantium

    The decline and fall of the over one-thousand-year-old Byzantine empire constitutes an epic tragedy. Year after year, decade after decade, this once great empire became weaker and less likely to survive. In 1204, the Crusaders and Venetians conquered and plundered its capital, Constantinople, and divided the empire into four kingdoms. A newly established Latin empire…

  • Pertussis—A new or ancient disease?

    Pertussis is a respiratory disease characterized by the whoop, the sound made by patients during coughing fits, and popularly known as whooping cough. It may be a more ancient disease than is usually assumed. Mentioned in an ancient Chinese medical classic from before the first century, it was described during the Sui Dynasty by the…

  • History of ectopic kidney

    Mostafa ElbabaDoha, Qatar “There are many errors in the development of the kidneys which are of great surgical and pathologic interest. Most of these errors are easily explainable by the remarkable evolutions which attend the development of the urinary apparatus. If anyone doubts the utility of a careful study of this subject, let him contemplate…

  • George Orwell: Obsessed with rats

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Of all the horrors—a rat.”– George Orwell, 1984 It is said that author George Orwell (1903–1950), born Eric Blair, was “obsessed” with rats.1 Rats are mentioned in his novels, essays, diaries, and letters. As he got older, he became more rat-obsessed. He has been called “a kind of literary pied piper dancing…

  • Book review: Disease and Healing in the Indus Civilisation

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, England The Indus (Harappan) civilisation was one of the three contemporaneous ancient civilisations, the others being the Egyptian and Mesopotamian. First excavated by the British in the 1920s, it existed from 3300–1300 BC, extending from the south in Gujarat to northwest India and Pakistan across the Indus and the now often dried…

  • On Voltaire, Akakia, De Maupertuis, and another Akakia

    Avi OhryTel Aviv, Israel When in 1718 François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778) was released from incarceration at the Bastille, he changed his name to Voltaire. Soon he became an “enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher, famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation…