Tag Archives: article

Emily, Usher, and American Gothic perspectives on mortality

Olga Reykhart Liam Butchart Stony Brook, New York, United States   1894-1895 Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley of the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. Accessed via Wikimedia. In an editorial for Medical Humanities, Gillie Bolton notes that death is a common theme in literature and also in medicine. […]

The 1918 Pandemic—the collective story versus the personal narrative

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   U.S. Army Field Hospital No. 29, Hollerich, Luxembourg Interior view- Influenza ward. Copyright Statement: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. Stalin’s claim that a “single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”1 reverberates at a time when the world […]

Is Mary Seacole the new mother of nursing?

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Sketch of Mary Seacole by Crimean war artist William Simpson (1823–1899), c. 1855. Source. The promotion of Jamaican businesswoman and “doctress” Mary Seacole as the pioneer nurse in place of Florence Nightingale was given considerable credence early in 2013, when Seacole was named a “pioneer of health care” by the UK Department […]

Blood type and personality

Nonoko Kamai Nagoya, Japan   ICS code block for blood bag identification (sample). Photo by ICS International GmbH. 2013. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0. Why do Japanese people believe in a relationship between blood type and personality? Beginning in the 1970s, the blood type personality hypothesis became fashionable in Japan and it is […]

All blood runs red

Mel Diomampo Houston, TX   Miss Clara Barton. Mathew Brady. ca. 1860 – ca. 1865. US National Archives. The American Red Cross (ARC) is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of armed conflict and other disasters. Based on the Geneva Convention of 1949, its work primarily consists of responding to […]

Anne McLaren, transfusion, transplantation, and the nature of blood

Matthew Holmes Cambridge, UK   What happened during a transfusion or transplantation between different individuals, or even members of different species? For centuries some thought that hereditable characteristics might cross between individuals or species in this manner. This belief found fresh impetus in Marxist biology during the Cold War. Anne McLaren, Oxford-trained zoologist and first […]

Blood donation in South Sudan

Ahmed Elhag Latham, New York   Red Cross in South Sudan. The item to the far right in the photograph is the country’s national instrument the “tombour” (an African lyre). The item to the left is a handcrafted piece of Sudanese art which contains calligraphy. Photograph by the author. When discussing the many challenges surrounding […]

Blood under the moon: the role of astrology in surgery

Margareta-Erminia Cassani Michigan, United States   Zodiac Man, Homo Signorum, from Guild Book of the Barber Surgeons, c 1486, BL MS Egerton, 2572, f. 50v.  Luminarium:  Encyclopedia Project Imagine your doctor telling you that you need surgery. Then they follow that unsettling news with something, well, a little strange sounding. They tell you that the date […]

Bloodlust: the embodiment of the uncanny in “The Vampyre”

Emily Cline Montréal, QC, Canada   John William Polidori’s The Vampyre, published in 1819, established the conventions of the vampire genre. Though Polidori did draw his inspiration from Lord Byron’s “Augustus Darvell,” the story was wrongfully attributed to Byron by publisher Henry Colburn. This People’s illustrated edition, published in London ca. 1884 and illustrated by […]

Blood and bandages

Patricia A. Unsworth Bolton, England, United Kingdom   Photograph by the author. The notorious Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street, is possibly the first thought that comes to mind at the mention of barber surgeons, but how far from reality was this character of Victorian fiction? Perhaps not so far removed as one […]