Tag Archives: Australia

The snake, the staff, and the healer

Simon Wein Petach Tikvah, Israel   The Rod of Asclepius, graphite on paper, by Daniel Wein, 2021. Introduction In some ancient cultures, especially around the Near East, the snake was involved in healing. Today this seems counterintuitive. There are as many as 130,000 deaths from snake bites worldwide each year and three times that number […]

“Quincy,”—A crusading doctor played by a crusading actor

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Photo of Robert Ito as Sam and Jack Klugman as Quincy from the television drama Quincy. 1977. NBC Television. Via Wikimedia. The television series Quincy, or Quincy, M.E. [Medical examiner], aired between 1976 and 1983 in the US. One hundred forty-six episodes of this program were televised. Quincy was originally […]

“Plague of the Sea, and the Spoyle of Mariners”—A brief history of fermented cabbage as antiscorbutic

Richard de Grijs Sydney, Australia   Germans eating sauerkraut. Hand-colored etching by James Gillray (1756–1815), published 7 May 1803. (© National Portrait Gallery, London: NPG D12809; CC BY-NC-ND 3.0) “. . . those affected have skin as black as ink, ulcers, difficult respiration, rictus of the limbs, teeth falling out and, perhaps most revolting of […]

The loneliness of the long-living doctor

Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia   Study of the head of an old man. Peter Paul Rubens. between 1610 and 1615. Kunsthistorisches Museum. Via Wikimedia. A noticeable phenomenon of the twenty-first century is the increasing frequency of friendships between older men. The importance of such friendships to both mental and physical health has been well documented.1,2,3 […]

The wayward Paracelsus

JMS Pearce East Yorks, England   Fig 1. Aureolus Philippus Theophrastus von Hohenheim (Paracelsus). Via Wikimedia. Alterius non sit qui suus esse potest Let no man be another’s who can be himself Paracelsus 1552   Paracelsus was the most original, controversial character of the Renaissance,1 who brazenly questioned and condemned the dictates of Galen and […]

No complaints, only symptoms

Peter Arnold  Sydney, Australia   Aerial view of Sydney Harbour. 2015. Photo by user Whiteghost.ink, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 “No complaints, only symptoms,” I told my cardiologist this year. How dare I complain? I am eighty-four. Thirty-two years have passed since my quintuple coronary artery bypass; eighteen years since a diagnosis, in one of […]

The most enduring fictional character in literature, Sherlock Holmes, created by a physician

Marshall A. Lichtman Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, New York   Figure 1. Basil Rathbone (Sherlock Homes) with pipe and Nigel Bruce (Dr. John H. Watson). A scene from the film “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” in 1939. The plots rarely adhered to the Conan Doyle story plots and Inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard and Dr. Watson […]

COVID time

Norelle Lickiss  Hobart, Tasmania, Australia   View of Earth, showing Africa, Europe, and Asia–taken by Apollo 11 crewmember. 17 July 1969. Image by NASA, Johnson Space Center.        Who will be the chronicler of this?  of how the tower fell,  of how the tolling bell  sounded the world’s crying.    And how the darkness fell,   […]

Ode to my stethoscope

Hilton Koppe Lennox Head, Australia   Poet’s note My Littman stethoscope has accompanied me on my journey in medicine across five decades into premature medical retirement. It was definitely more difficult to lay down my stethoscope than it had been for me to recommend medical retirement to many of my patients. This poem includes a […]

Plagues and prejudice

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Honolulu Chinatown fire of 1900. Hawaii State Archives.  It was a calm, clear January morning on the gritty streets of paradise. Honolulu, the capital of the newly-annexed U.S. territory of Hawaii, was ushering out a century of upheaval that had included the arrival of explorers, […]