Tag Archives: California

Schistosomiasis

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   She was admitted to Ain Shams Hospital in Cairo after vomiting blood, having slipped into Nile mud while harvesting sugar cane eighteen months before. Surprisingly, she had not fallen into the current, but had regained her footing and survived her fall. Although all seemed well for the next […]

Kwashiorkor

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   An eleven-month-old Egyptian infant sat wailing on a cot, his abdomen pouched out and covered by spider-like purplish veins. His tiny arms and legs were like sticks, except for his swollen ankles. He was brought in by his mother who knew that his food and care would be […]

Doris Unland: surgical nurse extraordinaire

Frederic Grannis Duarte, California, United States   Doris Unland RN “scrubbed in” OR 10. Doris Unland was an extraordinary American surgical nurse who worked for forty-seven years at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota. She may have participated in more major surgical operations than any other person—physician or nurse—in history. Born on December 19, 1910, […]

The other Timothy Leary

Saty Satya-Murti Santa Maria, California, United States   Figure-1: Timothy Leary at work, circa 1920. Credit: Digital Collections and Archives, Tufts University. Source Most people know the name of Timothy Leary as an American counterculture guru and psychologist who had a massive following in the mid-twentieth century. He invoked the names of Gandhi, Jesus, and […]

Notes on a first abortion

Henry Bair  Stanford, California, United States   Mother and Child by the Sea. Johan Christian Dahl. 1830. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. The first time I saw a late-term abortion by dilation and evacuation, I was surprised that it was a fairly minor procedure. I was to observe the termination at twenty-three weeks of […]

Jack London’s cloudy crystal ball

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   The Scarlet Plague, by Jack London. Open Library, an initiative of the Internet Archive. The COVID-19 pandemic has given quarantined readers new opportunities to discover the literature of plagues and epidemics. Many people—in order to give context to the present pandemic—have turned to books like Albert Camus’ […]

Richard J. Bing: reflecting on a century of creativity and innovation

Joseph Burns Yehuda Shapir New Hyde Park, New York, United States   [Richard J. Bing, M.D.] 1975. National Library of Medicine. As the tenth anniversary of the passing of Dr. Richard J. Bing approaches, the occasion offers an opportune moment to reflect on the life and momentous achievements of an eminent cardiologist. Richard J. Bing […]

The death of Zachary Taylor: the first presidential assassination or a bad bowl of cherries?

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1: Senator Foote pulling a revolver on Senator Benton on Senate Floor. The quote above Benson’s head reads, “Get out of the way and let the assassin fire! Let the scoundrel use his weapon! I have no arm’s(sic) I didn’t come here to assassinate.” Library of […]

Mary Niles and the Canton rats

Edward McSweegan Kinston, Rhode Island, United States   Doctor Mary West Niles, Wikipedia  Bubonic plague arrived in Honolulu in December 1899. A month later it had spread to San Francisco, where the infection caused a series of deadly outbreaks until 1907.1 But for decades before plague reached the American west coast, it had burned through […]

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, […]