Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: China

  • The art of war and medicine

    Xinxin Wu Omaha, Nebraska, United States   Hai Wan Wu on Lunar New Year 2003 wearing a traditional tangzhuang. War and medicine are two vastly different fields, yet they share a common goal. In war, soldiers risk their lives to defend their country; in medicine, healthcare professionals work to heal the sick and prevent illness.…

  • Dear brainstem, you remind me of the Mona Lisa

    Serena YueHong Kong, China Dear brainstem, You remind me of the Mona Lisa, seated firmly and comfortably atop the spinal cord. The Mona Lisa exudes royalty and class, from her posture and garments to the plump smoothness of her hands. Your elegance also enthralls me, from the sleek medulla oblongata, ascending to the pons with…

  • On orchids and testes

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “You like orchids?…Nasty things. Their flesh is too much like the flesh of men, their perfume the rotten sweetness of corruption.”– John Steinbeck Orchids belong to a widespread group of flowering plants. There are about 28,000 species of orchids worldwide.1 The underground tubers of many European orchids—which contain the plant’s reserve food…

  • Book review: How the NHS Coped with COVID-19

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom This work is a timely and important contribution to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc worldwide. Following the cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, things would never be the same again. In this book, the author has…

  • The forerunner

    Shafiqah Samarasam Malaysia   Skyline in Kuala Lumpur with haze. 2004. Photo by Nesnad. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 3.0. Southeast Asia has experienced detrimental, large-scale air pollution for decades. Known as the “Southeast Asia haze,” this transboundary pollution is largely caused by illegal agricultural fires in the forests of Indonesia. The lingering smoke results in breathing…

  • Men, women, and idioms of distress

    Mary Seeman Toronto, Ontario, Canada   What pedisyon may feel like. Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels. In all cultures there is a place for illness that is not easily explained by individual pathology. It is usually attributed to larger societal unrest, with some individuals responding to that unrest with somatic or psychological symptoms. When…

  • The wonderful world of vaccines

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Chicago, Illinois, United States   A patient with his whole body covered with smallpox lesions. Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, photo by Barbara Rice. Epidemics and pandemics became an issue about 10,000 years ago when hunters and gatherers became farmers and began to live in communities. Smallpox was one of the first…

  • Moral judgment in medicine: “sensibility of heart”

    Jack Coulehan Stony Brook, New York, United States   Clinicians in Intensive Care Unit. 2011. Photo by Calleamanecer. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 I want to reflect on the role of emotions, or “sensibility of heart,” in medical judgment. I take the term “judgment,” in general, to refer to the human capacity of assessing, analyzing,…

  • American ginseng as an herbal emissary influencing Qing-American trade relations

    Richard Zhang Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Panax quinquefolium, as featured in a book by physician-botanist Jacob Bigelow, late 1810s. Public domain courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. On February 22, 1784, the Empress of China set sail from New York Harbor.1 Destined for the eponymous country, the American ship carried thirty tons of a wild root—ginseng.…

  • Atrocities in Asia: Japan’s infamous Unit 731

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Bayonet practice, wherein Japanese soldiers used dead Chinese for targets. photographed by an Associated Press photographer near Tientsin. Date, 5 September 1937. Source, LIFE, Oct 11, 1937. page 30. Via Wikimedia In 1931 the Japanese army occupied the province of Manchuria in north-east China and continued to invade and occupy…