Tag Archives: Chicago

COVID-19 and 1665: learning from Daniel Defoe

Brian Birch Southampton, Hampshire, UK   London plague victims being buried in 1665, one of nine scenes from John Dunstall’s Plague broadsheet (1666). Credit: Wellcome Collection.  (CC BY 4.0) Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an account of the 1665 Great Plague of London. Based on eyewitness experience, the undersigned initials “H. F.” […]

Oswaldo Cruz and the eradication of infectious diseases in Brazil

Robert Perlman Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo of buildings on Rue Oswaldo-Cruz, a street in Paris named after the physician. Photo from Wikimedia by user CVB. CC BY-SA 4.0 In 1899, an epidemic of bubonic plague caused a crisis in the Brazilian port city of Santos. Ship captains were angry that their boats had […]

Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, MD, United States   Figure 1. Dr. Charles Alexander Eastman; Reproduced with permission, Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN On March 15, 2021, the United States Senate confirmed Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM), a member of the Laguna Pueblo Tribal Nation, as Secretary of the Department of Interior. This historic action […]

Omentum: much more than “policeman of the abdomen”

Ashok Singh Chicago, Illinois, United States   Histology of activated omentum 3 days after placing a 5 cc slurry of inert polydextran particles of approx. 100 micron diameter (1 million particles) in the abdominal cavity of rats. Note the dramatic change in the size and quality of the omentum. While the native omentum is fatty […]

Battling poverty, injustice, ignorance and fear, and despair

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   Figure 1: Don Quixote de la Mancha and Sancho Panza (1982), by Maurice D. Pearlman, MD (1915-1985), University of Illinois, Class of 1938. Donated in his memory by his daughter, Martha Pearlman. Assemblage approximately 7’ X 11’. This picture was taken when the statue was on […]

In praise of swimming: from Benjamin Franklin to Oliver Sacks

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Oliver Sacks as a young child with his father. Courtesy of the Oliver Sacks Foundation. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was not a physician, but many thought he was so-trained and referred to him as “Doctor” Franklin. After accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in […]

Conjoined twins: art, ethics, and the media

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Conjoined twins have fascinated humans since earliest times. Artists illustrated twins in clay, stone statues, wood carvings, and portraits. They were exhibited on stage, in freak shows, and the circus. The worldwide news media, especially the intrusive television camera, has now replaced the circus as a means […]

Albert C. Barnes, MD: the physician who spun silver into gold

Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Argyrol, the compound developed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Hille to treat ophthalmia neonatorum, a conjunctivitis that led to blindness in newborns then caused by gram-negative gonococcus bacteria. Infection was contracted from mothers during vaginal delivery. Credit: Argyrol bottle, c. 1902-1907, Barnes & […]

Use of masks to control the spread of infection: more than a century of confusion

Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   The above photograph is from the archives of the Cook County Hospital when it closed. It was taken in the surgical amphitheater in the main building. The year is not known. The photograph demonstrates an operation being carried out by masked and gowned surgeons and the scrub nurse […]

Potts and Pott

John Raffensperger Fort Meyer, Florida, United States   Portrait of Percivall Pott by George Romney, unsigned, 1788. From the Hunterian Museum, Royal College of Surgeons, London. Source Willis Potts and Percival Pott were both highly skilled surgeons, prolific authors, and contributed to the surgical care of children.   Percival Pott (1714-1788) Percival Pott, at age […]