Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities


  • Not-so-natural history

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Photo by Anthony Papagiannis Physicians learn about chronic disease by watching its natural history and attempting to modify it with therapies. Cardiologists record episodes of ischemic disease, oncologists follow the progression of malignancies, and pulmonologists note changes in respiratory function over time. When patients are first seen, the disease is…

  • Last words

    Dean Gianakos Virginia, United States   It’s after midnight, and I’m on the phone with the family medicine resident. “Dr. Gianakos? Sorry to wake you. I’m here in the emergency room with Hattie T. I know you know her from previous admissions. Another COPD exacerbation, Dr.G. I’ve given her antibiotics, steroids, and three neb treatments.…