This page contains the archive of online journal Hektoen International. Please read below to find brief descriptions of previous issues.

Visit Hektorama to view articles archived according to author and topic.

Volume 11, Issue 1- Winter 2019

We invite you to participate in the Seventh Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Competition. Topics might include art, history, literature, education, etc. as they relate to medicine. Essays should be under 1600 words. The deadline is April 15, 2019 at 12pm CST. Please view our Contest Submission Guidelines for more information on how to enter.

These articles are from our recent Food and the Body contest. We celebrate the variety of topics their writers explored.

Volume 10, Issue 4- Fall 2018 – In this issue we publish the results of our Food and the Body essay contest, with interesting essays on pallegra, hunger, and starvation. We also feature writing on the Munro dynasty of surgeons in Edinburgh; an essay on Virginia Wolf’s Mrs. Dalloway; and pieces on Darwin, Charles Bell, and the anatomy school in Bologna.
Volume 10, Issue 3- Summer 2018 – In this issue our readers will learn how Thomas Jefferson promoted the construction of two medical schools, how doctors Salk and Sabin each worked to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis, how George Washington decided to inoculate his army against smallpox, and how leprosy remains unconquered.
Volume 10, Issue 2- Spring 2018 -In this issue we feature articles on Louis Pasteur, Chekhov, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Francesco Goya, the so-called Mississippi appendectomy, the sense of smell, and an unusual condition called prosopagnosia.
Volume 10, Issue 1- Winter 2018 – We feature articles on music and its effect on the brain and healing, and the so-called Mozart effect. We learn that Walt Whitman could be a difficult patient and that sir Joshua Reynolds wore so-called Whig glasses. Read about Pale Horse Pale Rider ranking among the finest works of 20 century fiction and set in the 1918 influenza epidemic. We also explore Patrick Bramwell Brontë, the brother of the famous Brontë sisters, who had early ambitions to become a famous poet but ended up dying of alcoholism and tuberculosis.  
Volume 9, Issue 4 – Fall 2017 – In this issue readers will read about bacteria’s potential – both to fight cancer and to cause so-called autumnal disease. Medical professional associations continue to use the two serpent staff caduceus, protector of merchants and thieves, rather than that of Asclepius, the true patron of medicine whose stick has only one serpent. The word serendipity originates from the tale of three Persian princes who traveling in the Indian Ocean discovered by accident the island of Serendip or now Sri Lanka.
Volume 9, Issue 3 – Summer 2017 – Join us in Strasbourg to visit the famous Isenheim Altarpiece, a composite paintings by Matthias Grünewald. Meet Dr. Pozzy, a successful gynecologist, soldier, and eminent socialite and research professor. Learn about the effects of alcohol on the art of David Teniers the Younger, about the famous Charité hospital in Berlin that was originally a pest house, and about St.Patrick’s, established by the bequest Jonathan Swift for the care of “Idiots and Lunaticks.”
Volume 9, Issue 2 – Spring 2017 – Readers of this issue will learn about the disabilities of John Milton, Charles Darwin, and the Emperor Claudius; the myth of vampirism; women in healthcare during the Ottoman Empire; the Order of the Hospitallers; and attitudes towards pregnancy and childbirth in Victorian England, the Soviet Union, and ancient Egypt. We also feature Prince Alfred’s 1868 visit to Sydney where he barely survived an attempt on his life.
Volume 9, Issue 1 – Winter 2017 – In this issue we invite our reader to visit the Gross Clinic and the Mutter Museum, to learn what it was like to be treated for tuberculosis at a sanitarium in Switzerland, to commiserate with the difficult life of Frida Kahlo, to admire the literary achievements of Edgar Allan Poe and F. Scott Fitzgerald, and to learn about the first black owned hospital in Chicago.  
Volume 8, Issue 4 – Fall 2016 – In this issue we visit some of the great hospitals of the world: the Bellevue Hospital in New York, the Peter Bent Brigham in Boston, and the Klinikum in Aachen, Germany. We read about Rodin, Velasquez, Mary Cassatt, Tobias Smollet, and learn about the first Native American physician in the United States and the first woman to be accepted to medical school in England.
Volume 8, Special Issue – Summer 2016 – In this special medical student issue, Hektoen International celebrates the contributions of students who have embraced the humanities despite the rigorous demands imposed by pursuing their medical education.
Volume 8, Issue 3 – Summer 2016 – In this issue, we publish the articles written by the two winners of the Fourth Hektoen Grand Prix Essays Outwitting ‘Typhoid Mary’ by Lisa Mullennneaux and Dust Off” and the Power of Perseverance by Robert B. Robeson.
Volume 8, Issue 2 – Spring 2016 – April is here, not the cruelest month but bringing laughter, a little sunshine, and a new issue of our journal with articles (as Francis Bacon would have said) to be tasted and swallowed, chewed and digested, read only in parts, or merely read by deputy and extracts made of the more important arguments.
Volume 8, Issue 1 – Winter 2016 – we celebrate our seventh anniversary with fascinating articles on art and anatomy in Frontispiece as well as others on well-known hospitals, psychology, science, and surgery. We also encourage our readers to scan the various sections of Hektorama for other articles published there in the past few months. Several of these articles have also been featured in our monthly emails, Twitter, or Facebook. Winter 2016 Past Issue
Volume 7, Issue 4 – Fall 2015 – the reader of this issue will travel from a gulag in Siberia to a psychiatric hospital in Moscow, visit a launching camp for Auschwitz and the venerable Cook County Hospital of Chicago, and undergo exposure to migraines, cholera, ergotism, and tuberculosis. Encounter beautiful art, question the use of acronyms in medicine, discover Argentinian tangos inspired by disease, and see a battered wife get the last word in our fall issue. Fall 2015 Past issue
Volume 7, Issue 3 – Summer 2015 – we feature Dr. Christopher Frank’s winning Grand Prix article on how Glasgow nurses were shielded against drug addicts by glass barricades; and Natalia Vieyra’s winning Silver Prize on morphinomania in Parisian society. We offer works by Masolino, Franciabigio, Taddeo Gaddi, and Winslow Homer; tours of Alcatraz and Broadmoor; visits to ancient Persia, Magna Graecia, and Byzantium; and notes on Luigi Galvani, Frantisek Chvostek, and Oliver Wendell Holmes. We report on the history of several epidemics; on clowns in hospitals and on black barber shops; and how once upon a time fees for physicians were honorary and not binding or recoverable in the courts.
Volume 7, Issue 2 – Spring 2015 – we feature articles about the prose of John Keats, Thomas De Quincy, and Michael Bulgakov, about university deans, the horrors of the black hole, medicine in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, Austrian peasants eating arsenic, doctors collecting coins, and many other compelling items.
Volume 7, Issue 1 – Winter 2015 – we offer articles about Shakespeare, Darwin, and Francis Bacon; great doctors of Islam, Vienna, and elsewhere; attractive art and literature; a section on science; and as usual stories about patients and their doctors. We have moved to a dynamic system that allows for more rapid publication as well as easy transfer of articles among the three integral parts of the Journal: Frontispiece, Briefs, and Hektorama.
Volume 6, Issue 4 – Fall 2014 – we take you from the outskirts of ancient Thebes to a Renaissance apothecary in Florence, to the jungles of New Guinea and the complex tangles of neurological and mental diseases. We learn about smallpox vaccination, dying from voodoo, the supposed benefits of growing old, the particular humor of doctor jokes, and the lives of some great figures of medicine; also how bureaucracy has spread its ugly tentacles as far as Australia. Summer
Volume 6, Issue 3 – Summer 2014 – In this issue we travel on the Silk Road to the legendary city of Samarkand, to war-torn Sarajevo and the South Sudan, to the Isle of Brach, and to the battlefields of the American Civil War. We meet Lord Lister, Casanova, Cicero, the “Lunaticks,” and several medical serial killers. We continue to feature anatomical studies and imagery, and honor the contributions of Dr. Richard Selzer to literature and medical education. Summer
Volume 6, Issue 2 – Spring 2014 – In this issue we are pleased to present the winning Brief of the Vesalius Prize, Leonardo and the reinvention of anatomy by Dr. Salvatore Mangione. We received many excellent entries for this contest, and we have a selection of these showcased in the “Feature Briefs” section. We also highlight many other interesting topics, including Eliot’s triad, Pacini’s corpuscles, Boyle’s law, the history of epilepsy and of the Bank of England. Finally, we invite you to peruse our Briefs, Library, and Gallery sections for more works relating to the medical humanities. Summer
Volume 6, Issue 1 – Winter 2014 – In this issue we explore concepts of beauty as understood in different cultures. We learn about Cleopatra’s borderline personality disorder, the psychology of vengeance, medieval headaches, measles in the young, and the history of anesthesia and also how the gut is unloved by poets, how laughter helps ease the burden of diabetes, and how the family that eats together stays together – happy and thin. We also feature several handsome paintings from the excellent Brukenthal Museum in Transylvania. Summer
Volume 5, Issue 4 – Fall 2013 – In this issue we present several feature articles, ranging from the decline of polymaths in medicine to one doctor’s experience in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We also include a special section on epidemics and infection, and two articles from our medical history lecture series: “The American Civil War: a biological phenomenon” and “Health, Hope, and Healing on the Tiber.” As always, we have interesting pieces relating medicine to art, literature, and history, and reflections on the medical experience from doctors, patients, and students. Copernicus
Volume 5, Issue 3 – Summer 2013 – In this issue we are pleased to announce the winners of the Hektoen Grand Prix Essay Competition, Fergus Shanahan – Grand Prix winner and the author of Waiting, and Daisy Fancourt – Silver Prize winner and the author of Medicine musica. We received over 150 entries from around the world for our contest on a dizzying array of topics. You can read our winning essays, as well as many other excellent essays concerning the medical humanities in this issue.
Volume 5, Issue 2 – Spring 2013 – This issue is dedicated largely to cardiology. It commemorates the achievement of the physicians whose contributions made cardiology what it is today. Topics addressed include the history of digitalis, electrocardiography, arrhythmia, anticoagulants, cardiac transplantation, and ventricular assist devices. It is a rich history that deserves not to be forgotten. sacred heart
Volume 5, Issue 1 – Winter 2013 – In this issue the reader will learn why the real Baron von Munchausen never rode to the moon on a cannonball; why his name is linked to a psychiatric disorder; and why a benevolent physician invented the guillotine. He may read about the sweating sickness, Nobel Prize winners, Boccaccio and Jules Verne, foot-binding, and fairies kidnapping babies. There are tours to hospitals in London and Siena, to the art of Domenico di Bartolo, Lavinia Fontana, and Quentin Massys, and stops at a sweet and sour column called Hektorade.
Volume 4, Issue 4 – Fall 2012 A special issue on birth and pregnancy – In this issue we cover various aspects of pregnancy and birth among gods and humans. We show how gods can change themselves into clouds or beasts, or have their offspring arise from the foam of the sea or the heads of their fathers. For the daughters of Eve, the pregnancy is longer and the delivery more painful, as a consequence of the unpleasant affair with the forbidden fruit. Please read about women’s agelong struggle for reproductive freedom, poor Princess Charlotte, and the use of forceps to extract babies from their suffering mothers. Rawina Cowan
Volume 4, Issue 3 – Summer 2012 – Richard Selzer’s biographer shares portrait of the surgeon-writer, Dileep Jhaveri discusses the timelessness of the intangible, and Emily Dickinson’s poetry sheds light on ethical matters. Ergotism and syphilis are explored in art, and Marin Marais musically depicts a surgery to remove a urinary bladder stone. Schola Medica Salernitana, Charles II, and Captain Scott’s loyal assistant are remembered. A patient explores the defined spaces of her disease; a psychiatrist contemplates what happens when her clinical skills fail her; and a physician races against time to save a life in a snow storm. Vesna Jovanavic
Volume 4, Issue 2 – Spring 2012 A special issue on trauma – features personal narratives by physicians, with topics including a remarkable homeless woman’s impact on a California town, a surgeon’s encounter with an unfortunate butcher, a family physician’s struggle with addiction, and a Nepalese doctor’s reflection on trauma. An except from Trauma Stewardship provides guidance for self-care, while survivors of torture, sexual abuse, and homelessness employ art and photography to heal. An ER doc offers thanks those who taught him to question orders, and a peach tree helps a dying man say goodbye. Piero di Cosimo, Lord Moran’s secret, and Moliere’s The Doctor Despite Himself are explored in brief.
Volume 4, Issue 1 – Winter 2012 A special issue on strange medicine – features an exploration of the graphic medical novel, lovesickness in art and medicine, and the difficulty of naming diseases and of not remembering faces. A fictional patient attempts his own tracheal surgery, while artists depict stomach acid dreams, viral combat, and gentle men. Students shadow artists on the wards, while physicians discuss the characteristics of a good physician and what to do when you can’t decide witch doctor to consult. Wilson weighs the history of evidence-based practice; Dunea delves into Napoleon’s loss at Borodino; and Mangione revisits Mahler on the 100th anniversary of his death. Laughter yoga and the power of the creative show innovative approaches to healing.
Volume 3, Issue 3 – Fall 2011A special issue on mental illness – features a daughter’s account of her mother’s “dirty laundry,” how a Taylor Swift song changed a man’s life, and a young man’s struggle with hunger. Karen De Looze explores Hindu faith healing while William Albury examines how changelings and extraterrestrials may have influenced conceptions of autism. Basil Brooke revisits the life of George Price, while Stephanie Ezell contemplates the mentally ill individual as visionary. A woman describes the privilege of her memory loss, a gallery of possessions offers relief for the anxious, and a young woman struggling with depression simply wants to be more for her partner. George Dunea wonders what fad diet Jane Austen’s hypochondriac characters would subscribe to today.
Volume 3, Issue 2 – Spring 2011A special feature on the end of life – features a glimpse at some unusual renal rounds in There is a time, reflections on a father’s glasses, the dangers of blind faith, and an infectious disease doctor’s reflections on the Streptococcus. Daughters reflect on their relationships with their fathers around times of illness and death. Authors rethink approaches to their inevitable deaths, while others explore the modern hospice movement’s hope for the dying. Advance directives and the ethics of end-of-life care are examined while others reflect on teaching death, the death of children, and the ultimate question, “Is there a good death?”
Volume 3, Issue 1 – Winter 2011 – features African vignettes, including a rural health volunteer’s starlit musings in Senegal, a teacher’s photographic exploration of prayer in Africa, and a doctor’s unexpected language connection with a patient from the French Congo. Patients dream of healing through art, Chicago artists describe artful science, and a scholar depicts the anatomy of beauty. Doctors’ stories intermingle with thoughts on nursing diagnoses and morning notes in one corner while discussions of the cognitive default and the human condition occupy another. Poetry and public health—a student among cadavers, regrets from the VA, thoughts on how prisons discipline, and the reason behind rice in Chinese culture—conclude with stories of the breast cancer survivor’s evolving journey.
Volume 2, Issue 3 – Fall 2010A special feature on the body– features a doctor’s remarkable encounter with a pianist, a writer’s personal journey to the clinic at Terezin, and a resident’s exploration of the beauty and tragedy of surgically harvesting organs. An artist heals hidden wounds through painting while a woman recovering from anorexia finds growth in a healing dreamscape. Henry Crenshaw reconsiders the “Gone-a-gram” as the moniker of his new invention, a family physician explores what happens when children die, and a doctor determines the lesser of evils when treating a patient with addiction. Can yoga, poetry, or beauty be therapeutic? And what happens when doctors encounter death in their personal lives?
Volume 2, Issue 2 – Spring 2010 – features a unique analysis of the Stone Operation by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch, the first half of a feature on the history of the castrati, a doctor’s encounter with a seriously disfigured Nigerian man, musings on being a patient by an endocrinologist, a historical review of lithotripsy, and Dr. Moore and 18th century medicine. A retired cardiac surgeon from California, a cardiac surgeon from Italy, a Chicago medical student, a medical ethicist from New Zealand, and a Chicago author share different perspectives on death. The topic of the brain is explored through acting techniques to enhance memory, Neural Darwinism, and the various metaphors for mind-reading in the scientific literature.
Volume 2, Issue 1 -Winter 2010features personal reflections by an anatomy professor in India, a retired pediatrics professor in Ireland, a medical oncologist from India, and a clinical pharmacologist from Nepal. Emily Dickinson makes an appearance in a riveting piece about the preciousness of eyesight. A comparison of ancient Mesopotamian and Hippocratic medicine is explored in the context of their contributions to modern medicine. Ludvig Hektoen, for whom this journal is named after, is remembered. An eclectic poetry selection by caregivers and patients shows us the healing power of words.
Volume 1, Issue 5 – Fall 2009 – features articles on integrating literature into healthcare, the Hippocratic Oath, the intersection of neuroscience and yoga, dream interpretation and insomnia across cultures. Also featured are reflections on a medical education in Croatia, medical illustrations rendered through technology, and a collection of artwork by a recovering trauma patient.
Volume 1, Issue 4 – Summer 2009 – features articles on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait through drawings, the history of tuberculosis, leprosy in Africa, creativity in medicine, psychiatrists in literature, Joseph B. Kirsner, and Dr. Hans Zinsser, the Renaissance man. Also featured are various personal essays and poems by physicians, nurses and medical students.
Volume 1, Issue 3 – Spring 2009 – features articles on cannibalism, Dr. Knox and the body snatchers, disability and eugenics in the United States, grumpy doctors in short stories, teaching nursing at the morgue and the art museum, and many more. Also featured is an art installation on HIV/AIDS. Canibalism
Volume 1, Issue 2 – Winter 2009 – features articles on art and psychoanalysis, HIV/AIDS literature, nursing during the US civil war, Rudolf Virchow, Eisenhower and Crohn’s Disease, and many more. Also featured is a reprint from Lancet on Emerging Infections: a Perpetual Challenge.
Volume 1, Issue 1 – Fall 2008 – features several reprints from the British Medical Journal, articles written by George Dunea, MD, President and CEO of the Hektoen Institute of Medicine. Also, featured is an article by Editorial Board Member, John Last, MD, based on a paper given in a Symposium on “The role of the medical humanities in education and healing.” Many Phisicians have slain a king