Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: blood

  • Tales of a sickler

    Phebe Salami Gwagwalada, Abuja, Nigeria   Sickle cell anemia. Photo by Ed Uthman on Flickr. CC BY 2.0. This piece is a work of fiction inspired by real-life stories of sickle cell disease. There are a thousand and one ways to tell a story. I guess this is just another one of those ways, my…

  • The man shackled on 4 Northwest

    Andria Albert Tucson, Arizona, United States   Photo by Nikon Corporation on Unsplash. In one of the patient rooms tucked into the Northwest (NW) wing of the fourth floor of the hospital, there lay a particular man. Upon walking into his room, you would find nothing extraordinary about him. He is young, early thirties, with…

  • Blood and hate: The anti-Semitic origin of the fabled first transfusion

    Matthew Turner McChord, Washington, United States   Massacre of Jews woodcut. 1493. From L. Golding, The Jewish Problem, Penguin, 1938. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. Introduction It is a story often repeated in medical textbooks: in 1492, Innocent VIII lay dying. His physician attempted the first recorded blood transfusion, transfusing the blood of three children into…

  • AIDS: Thru a glass darkly

    S.E.S. MedinaBenbrook, Texas, United States I sat in the deep, cool shade of a stout, leafy Texas cedar escaping the torrid summer heat, idle thoughts meandering. Cotton-ball clouds grazed lazily across their azure prairie. The pervasive insane miasma swirling like a whirlwind around COVID-19 reminded me of days past when a very different virus dominated…

  • Xenotransfusion: blood from animals to humans

      Jean Baptiste Denys. Via Wikimedia. The idea of infusing the blood of animals into humans was first proposed in 1658 by the French monk Dom Robert des Gabets soon after William Harvey’s discovery of the circulation of the blood. Experiments consisting of transfusing blood from one species to another followed. In 1665 in Oxford…

  • On the way to school

    Mary Jumbelic Syracuse, New York, United States   Illustration by Joshua Jumbles. Published with permission. A thin line of blood oozed from a shallow cut in the skin, like the first stroke of an artist’s brush on a blank canvas. The second and third incisions intersected the first to form a large Y-shape. Sanguinous fluid…

  • Walter E. Dandy, one of the founders of neurosurgery

    Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Johns Hopkins, where Dandy studied. Photo by Lizardraley99, 2012. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 Three pioneers established the discipline of neurosurgery. They were the British surgeon Victor Horsley and the Americans Harvey Cushing and Walter Dandy. Both Americans were surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Dandy (1886-1946)…

  • A brief history of menstruation

    Fangzhou Luo Portland, Oregon, United States   Philammon declaring his love for Hypatia. Via Wikimedia. Public domain. After a few failed attempts to redirect a flirtatious student to “higher pleasures” like music, the Ancient Greek philosopher and mathematician Hypatia resorted to revealing where she was in her menstrual cycle to deter him. The philosopher who…

  • Parental grief

    Ellen Zhang Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Photo by RODNAE Productions from Pexels We didn’t know the ending because this was us back then. Sometimes wanting is not enough. When the oncologist spoke. While you started to cry only because your mother did. As we cradled you gently. Beyond the singularity of such moments. There…

  • The proximity of death

    Paul C. Rosenblatt St. Paul, Minnesota, United States   A family outing at Lincoln Park in Chicago a few weeks before the author became ill. Pictured are the author, his mother Rose Rosenblatt, and his sister Doris Rosenblatt (now Kopfstein). Photo taken by the author’s father Harry Rosenblatt and published with permission of the author.…