Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Austria

  • Allowing my death—a delusory end-of-life decision

    Wolfgang LedererInnsbruck, Austria Together with the gift of life, I have received its finiteness, its perishability. As death is inescapable, when might I allow my life to end? Certainly, my life expectancy has to be longer than average, and I demand good physical and mental health right down to the last minute. Furthermore, my life…

  • Professor Bernhardi, a play by Arthur Schnitzler, M.D.

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “A spiteful something has been fabricated out of an innocent nothing.”— Dr. Löwenstein in Professor Bernhardi       Professor Bernhardi: A Comedy in Five Acts (1912) is one of seventeen plays written by Arthur Schnitzler (1862-1931), a Viennese physician who also published two novels and twelve short stories or novellas. He…

  • 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…

  • Bloodletting with leeches: More dangerous than meeting Dracula

    S. Sabrina Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan Since time immemorial physicians have treated patients by removing various amounts of blood from the circulatory system. For this purpose they used objects that could cut the skin, such as sharpened pieces of wood, stones, teeth of wild animals, or even the feathers of birds. These tools changed over time, and…

  • Gerard van Swieten and his reforms

    A massive statue in Vienna shows the empress Maria Theresia, imperial in bronze as she had been in life, surrounded by her generals and by an ennobled Dutch physician, the Baron Gerard van Swieten. She had recruited him from the medical department of the great Herman Boerhaave in Leiden, and he had come to Vienna…