Tag Archives: death

Death, disease, and discrimination during the construction of the Panama Canal (1904-1914)

Enrique Chaves-Carballo Overland Park, Kansas, United States   Theodore Roosevelt, portrait, ca. 1904, Wikipedia Commons, public domain. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (1858-1919) President Theodore Roosevelt envisioned an interoceanic canal as indispensable for American “dominance at the seas.”1 An isthmian canal would facilitate rapid deployment of U.S. Navy ships from Atlantic to Pacific Oceans, bypassing the arduous […]

The Portrait of Doctor Gachet

Nicholas Kang Auckland, New Zealand   Portrait of Doctor Gachet, by Vincent van Gogh. June 1890. Private collection. Via Wikimedia. On a spring evening in New York, a portrait is unveiled before a crowded auction room. It pictures an older man wearing a dark blue coat with luminous green buttons. His elbow rests on a red table beside two […]

The man who hated hospital

Emeka Chibuikem V. Enugu State, Nigeria   Our Beautiful Life. Photo by Yusuff Suleiman. 2018. CC BY-SA 4.0. Via Wikimedia. An emergency patient was in critical condition. The staff nurse on duty moved swiftly to attend to him. Then she went to the waiting hall to meet with the patient’s family and asked them why […]

Unfettered grief

Lealani Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Innocence behind the bangs of a child. Innocence by Lealani Mae Acosta. My first glimpse of unfettered grief was through shaggy six-year-old bangs, watching my mother weep, hunched over the toilet and framed by moonlight that cast the pale blue tiles of their master bathroom into darkness. I […]

A walk on the pediatric floor

Elie Najjar St. Nottingham, United Kingdom   Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash I came to the pediatric floor to learn about medicine—the presentation, development, and resolution of diseases—but I found myself learning something that etched itself deeper into my soul. I learned about humanity and the great energy that even in the darkest […]

A wrong time to die

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Lockdown in Thessaloniki. Photo by the author. Death is the one absolute and unexceptional certainty in life. In the Bible we read that there is a time for everything, including a time to die [Ecclesiastes 3:2]. Is there ever a “right” time to die? Faced with such a question, we […]

The proximity of death

Paul C. Rosenblatt St. Paul, Minnesota, United States   A family outing at Lincoln Park in Chicago a few weeks before the author became ill. Pictured are the author, his mother Rose Rosenblatt, and his sister Doris Rosenblatt (now Kopfstein). Photo taken by the author’s father Harry Rosenblatt and published with permission of the author. […]

Heart failure

Charles Halsted  Davis California, United States   By the time I completed my third medical school year, I had learned the basics of physiology and biochemistry, but had never been face-to-face with a person who depended upon my skills to survive. I had never heard a racing heart nor the sounds of gurgling lungs. I […]

Goals of care

Leah Grant  Portland, Oregon   Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash It was the beginning of my intern year and I felt like an impostor. Facing new responsibilities in both the hospital and clinic, I was aware of my lack of experience when patients asked for my medical opinion. But as I began to see […]

The finality in their voices: death, disease, and palliation in opera

Lea C. Dacy Eelco F. M. Wijdicks Rochester, Minnesota, United States   Figure 1: Violetta’s deathbed in La Traviata, from 2009 Glimmerglass Opera production directed by Sir Jonathan Miller. Photo by Richard Termine, used with his permission. I know she had tuberculosis! She was coughing her brains out . . . but still she kept […]