Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Category: Education

  • On Hortons among history

    Avi OhryTel Aviv, Israel I believe I met Dr. Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet, in 1999 in Glasgow during the two-day symposium on Medicine & Literature on the 400-year anniversary of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. On that occasion, I also met and chatted with Professor William Bryan Jennett CBE…

  • Medical Spanish at Mayo Clinic

    Lea DacyRochester, Minnesota, United States The anesthesiologist was thrilled when she asked a Spanish-speaking post-surgery patient to wiggle his toes, and he understood and complied. A medical secretary appropriately triaged a caller from Caracas. Other colleagues on their lunchbreaks were able to direct Spanish-speaking visitors to the nearest restroom or coffee shop. These Mayo Clinic…

  • Thomas Wakley (1795–1862) and The Lancet

    When in April 1820 five members of a radical group plotted to murder the British Prime Minister Lord Liverpool, they were sentenced to be hanged as well as publicly decapitated and dissected. An unknown man wearing a mask appeared in the square and carried out the task with such speed and dexterity that people thought…

  • Somerset Maugham on studying medicine (abstracted and in parts paraphrased from Of Human Bondage)

    In 1897 Somerset Maugham (1874–1965) qualified as a physician but never practiced medicine and became a full-time writer.1 In his 1915 novel Of Human Bondage he drew on his experiences at St. Thomas’s Hospital to describe what it was like to be a medical student at that time. He first has his young protagonist practice…

  • Teaching social determinants of health through art

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States When teaching medical students, I often incorporate works of art to introduce students to social determinants of health and to gain insight into the nature and importance of whole person care, the physical, behavioral, emotional, social, and spiritual factors that contribute to well-being. Social determinants of health (SDH) are factors…

  • Principles and Practice of Medicine: Sir Stanley Davidson

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Davidson’s The Principles & Practice of Medicine, 1956 edition. A textbook of medicine is a single work covering all the major specialist topics, aimed principally at the undergraduate medical student. What constitutes a good textbook of medicine is plainly a subjective judgment; it would be invidious to select one of…

  • Saving the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Mary Elizabeth Garrett. Bust from portrait by John Singer Sargent. Via Wikimedia.  “For to this lady, more than any other single person, save Johns Hopkins himself, does the School of Medicine owe its being.”1 – Alan Chesney on Mary Elizabeth Garrett   Johns Hopkins (1795–1873) was born in Maryland, one…

  • What is the point?

    Aariya Srinivasan Chennai, India   The author (right) performing a procedure. I am yet another young doctor struggling to find a place and purpose in this world. When I was in medical school, all I could ever think about was how to get through the next exam. Most of us do. We sit for days…

  • The middle zone

    Alfred DavidPort Harcourt, Rivers, Nigeria What sacrifices must be made in order to practice medicine? Choosing to study medicine is never a choice that should made lightly. The scope of knowledge in its various disciplines is vast, requiring an immense amount of dedication and attention to detail. Finances, social life, and a portion of one’s…

  • 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…