Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Civil War

  • Samuel Mudd, MD: Good Samaritan or conspirator?

    Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Figure 1 Samuel A. Mudd, MD. Wikimedia. As he rose in the Washington, D.C. courtroom on June 30, 1865, to hear his verdict, Dr. Samuel Mudd looked older than his thirty-one years (Figure 1). His odobene mustache framed his mouth and his goatee was speckled with prematurely…

  • 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…

  • First principles

    Charles G. KelsSan Antonio, Texas, United States The law of war is enshrined in treaties but steeped in blood. In 1859, a young Swiss businessman was traveling through Italy when a savage battle between French and Austrian forces commenced. Seeing “how many unfortunate men were left behind, lying helpless on the naked ground in their…

  • African American medical pioneers

    Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   The road for African Americans in the medical professions has not been easy. Enslaved Africans received no education.1 During the first half of the nineteenth-century medical schools in the North would admit only a very small number of black students. Even after the Civil War, African Americans continued…

  • Battle of Gettysburg

    Reed Brockway Bontecou (1824-1907) was an American surgeon from Troy, New York, who in 1846 made a trip up the Amazon river to collect flora and fauna for the local natural history museum, and whose surgical feats include the first successful ligation of a traumatic aneurysm of the axillary artery in America (1857) and the…

  • Hammond, Lincoln, and the emergence of American neurology

    Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States   Surgeon General William A. Hammond. Public domain. All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. – William Shakespeare   Shakespeare’s words describe the extraordinary life of…

  • Those eyes

    Susan Woldenberg Butler Canberra, Australia   Publication Acknowledgement: This fictional short story was published in Secrets from the Black Bag (Royal College of General Practitioners Publications; London, December, 2005). I’ve always involved myself in the lives of my patients and their families. Familiarity with context helps me to provide better treatment and nourishes such mental…

  • The American Civil War as a biological phenomenon: Did Salmonella or Sherman win the war for the North?

    Michael Brown Chicago, Illinois, United States   Reexamining Civil War deaths Patients in Ward K of Armory Square Hospital – Washington, DC, 1865   A demographic historian, J. David Hacker, recently discovered an unfortunate truth; using newly digitized data from the 1860, 1870, and 1880 censuses, he constructed new estimates of Northern and Southern Civil…