Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: blood pressure

  • Saying goodbye

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece Her head is bald, her face pale. Only a couple of weeks have passed since her latest cycle of chemotherapy, which imposed its ravages but offered no benefit. The disease is marching relentlessly ahead, the survival horizon drawing closer each day. She is alive only with the help of strong medications that…

  • Sir George Pickering and the low salt diet

    Nicolas Roberto RoblesBadajoz, Spain As a young man George Pickering was interested in his native Northumbrian countryside and intended to study agriculture. Persuaded later to read for a degree in biochemistry or physiology, he obtained a scholarship in basic sciences at Pembroke College, Cambridge, then decided to study medicine. He went to St. Thomas’s Hospital…

  • The death of James Abram Garfield

    Philip LiebsonChicago, Illinois, United States The medical treatment of some US presidents and ex-presidents has been controversial. One example is George Washington, who in 1799 at age sixty-seven suffered from an acute throat ailment that was treated by his physicians with molasses, vinegar, and butter gargles; inhaled vinegar and hot water; and a throat salve…

  • Walter Kempner (1903–1997) and his rice diet

    Walter Kempner, the doctor with the thick German accent who came to America to escape from the Nazis, was born in 1903. Son of two bacteriologists who had both worked on tuberculosis, he graduated in medicine from the  University of Heidelberg in 1928 and subsequently worked there and in Berlin. When the anti-Jewish laws were…

  • Harry Goldblatt and the kidney

    In 1928 Dr. Harry Goldblatt applied silver clamps experimentally to the renal arteries of dogs and observed a significant and sustained rise in blood pressure. His main interest as a researcher was to find a cause for hypertension, a disease for which effective treatment was not available at the time. There had been a long-standing…

  • Terminal digit preference

    Marshall Lichtman  Rochester, New York, United States   Figure 1. There are three types of sphygmomanometer; mercury, aneroid, and digital. This figure is of a manual aneroid sphygmomanometer. The rubber pump is used to raise the cuff pressure above the patient’s systolic pressure and then the pressure is released by unscrewing slowly the small valve…

  • Death in the time of corona

    Nivetha Subramanian Palo Alto, California, United States   The Garden of Death. Hugo Simberg. 1896. Ateneum Museum.  Source When several years ago, a virus, continents away, barred grieving families from holding their loved ones, I thought how lonely it must be, to breathe a last breath, surrounded by masked strangers. I greet you this morning,…

  • Irvine H. Page, M.D. (1901–1991)

    Earl SmithChicago, Illinois, United States Irvine Page was a physician scientist who discovered angiotensin and serotonin and proposed the multifactorial etiology of hypertension. He was a prolific medical writer and was instrumental in establishing what is now the National Academy of Medicine. Dr. Page initially intended to become a chemist. Following his graduation from Cornell…

  • Korotkov’s Sound

    Joseph deBettencourtChicago, Illinois, United States I’m watching, knees bending,Looking meek, my heart quiet,Drifting away are the shadowsOf fussy world affairsWhile I’m envisioning, dreaming ofvoices from other worlds -Aleksandr Blok, untitled poem, July 3, 1901a Stepping off the train in northern China, Nikolai Korotkov was the farthest he had ever been from home. He would have…

  • Stephen Hales: the priest who pioneered clinical physiology

    JMS Pearce Hull, United Kingdom   As a student I learned about Stephen Hales as the parish priest who first measured blood pressure — in a horse’s leg. The mists of time and waning memory have made his several astonishingly original works unknown to many. Samuel Johnson’s famous dictionary made few references to individuals, but…