Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Afghanistan

  • The wonderful world of vaccines

    Jayant RadhakrishnanChicago, Illinois, United States Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first lethal infections that spread widely. Its stigmata are seen in Egyptian mummies dating to 1570-1085 BCE. By 1500 CE, in China, India,…

  • First principles

    Charles G. KelsSan Antonio, Texas, United States The law of war is enshrined in treaties but steeped in blood. In 1859, a young Swiss businessman was traveling through Italy when a savage battle between French and Austrian forces commenced. Seeing “how many unfortunate men were left behind, lying helpless on the naked ground in their…

  • Blood mnemonics

    Chris ArthurSt. Andrews, Scotland Two photographs in Dunant’s Dream, Caroline Moorehead’s meticulous and moving history of the Red Cross, can be juxtaposed to illustrate a key aspect of this organization’s work. The first shows Henri Dunant, now regarded as “the father of the Red Cross.”1 In June 1859, this thirty-one-year-old businessman was traveling in Italy…

  • To mount a camel

    Larry ZaroffStanford University, California For the West, Afghanistan is a country difficult to understand. Though largely Muslim, it is a society made up of multiple ethnic groups and classes, beset by ideological disagreements, with disconnected provinces that are unstable, unconquerable, and often anarchic. All Afghans are culturally mixed, yet are highly independent, believe strongly in…

  • Shrapnel

    Christopher J. SchayerNew Haven, Connecticut His gloved hand grazed lightly the bulbous edges of my abdominal scars. My entire left flank, once lean and muscular, is now rippled with nodules of scar tissue and adhesions. I was not his average patient and as his fingers traversed the lumpy terrain of my abdomen, he began to…