Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Alcohol

  • White Australia: How white healthcare has affected Indigenous Australians

    Brittany SuannWestern Australia Australian healthcare is among the best, and Australia boasts the eighth lowest mortality rates in the world.1 For Indigenous Australians, however, health outcomes are 2.3 times worse than for non-Indigenous Australians.1 This gap is stark and is evident in mortality rates, the life expectancy at birth being 69.7 years for Indigenous women…

  • The ordeal of Evelyn Waugh

    Stephen McWilliamsDublin, Ireland In Evelyn Waugh’s second-last novel, The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold (1957), the eponymous character experiences some singular and troubling symptoms. Mr. Pinfold is a successful writer, not unlike Waugh himself, who embarks on a sea voyage in an effort to cure the chronic insomnia and fatigue he suffers from consuming too much…

  • Going berserk

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Berserk: frenzied, furiously, or madly violent. – Oxford English Dictionary   Imaginative drawing of a berserker in a fur loincloth. From Den Skandinavska Nordens Historia (The Scandinavian North’s History) by Gustaf Henrik Mellin, published 1850. The British Library on Flickr via Norwegian Wikipedia. No known copyright restrictions. The word berserkr…

  • Did Ernest Hemingway have the Celtic curse?

    Philip R. LiebsonChicago, Illinois, United States Considering Ernest Hemingway’s mishaps before he died in 1961 by a self-inflicted shotgun wound, it is surprising that he lived so long. He survived two plane crashes several days apart that left him with a concussion, burns, cracked ribs and vertebrae, and ruptures of the liver, spleen, and kidneys.…

  • “John Barleycorn Must Die”: Addiction attributions in Jack London’s Alcoholic Memoirs

    Ad A. KapteinBarend W. FlorijnPim B. van der MeerLeiden, the Netherlands A thousand words every morning—with iron discipline, Jack London adhered to his writing routine. Later in the day, he would turn to John Barleycorn: beer, wine, whisky, and brandy. His John Barleycorn: Alcoholic Memoirs (1913) tells of his drinking career, which took off after…

  • E.T.A. Hoffmann’s neurological disease

    Nicolás RoblesBadajoz, Spain Ich bin das, was ich scheine, und scheine das nicht, was ich bin, mir selbst ein unerklärlich Rätsel, bin ich entzweit mit meinem Ich!I am what I seem and do not seem what I am, an inexplicable mystery to myself, am I at odds with myself!— E.T.A. Hoffmann, Die Elixiere des Teufels…

  • Winston Churchill’s Illnesses

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom Winston Churchill was one of the most important political figures of the twentieth century. As such, it is not surprising that he has been the subject of many biographies that have chronicled his life and many achievements, most notably the comprehensive eight-volume opus by British historian and Churchill scholar, Martin…

  • A moonie

    Simon WeinPetach Tikvah, Israel Wally Moon was a legend who stood at least 1.90 meters tall. The most striking things about him were his appearance and his gruffness. When I met him during my residency he was in his early sixties. He had a magnificent girth, fuelled by quantities of non-politically correct food—even then in…

  • Absinthe: The green fairy

    Nicolás Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain Figure 1. Green Muse. Albert Maignan. 1895. Via Wikimedia Commons “After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally, you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in…

  • There is power in the blood

    Mark TanNorthwest Deanery, UK “Carne fa carne e vino fa sango” [Meat makes flesh and wine makes blood]— Italian proverb Laura was covered in blood when the paramedics arrived at her house. Her husband, in a state of shock, had gathered every available towel in the vicinity, but it seemed too little and too late.…