Tag Archives: Diphtheria

The use of force in medicine

Angad Tiwari India Mallika Khurana Japan   We walk the wards where Williams walked. Picture from Brueghel and Other Poems by William Carlos Williams: Collected Poems 19650-1962. New York: Directions Publishing Corporation. Source William Carlos Williams (1883-1963), regarded as “the most important literary doctor since Chekhov,” was an American Pulitzer prize-winning writer and poet who […]

Catching Your Death: Infectious rain in the works of Jane Austen

Eve Elliot Dublin, Ireland   Willoughby Carries Marianne Home. Image: Carried Her Down the Hill, 1908. By C.E Brock. Wikimedia Commons. Fans of the Netflix romp Bridgerton or any of the Jane Austen film adaptations will likely be familiar with the important social etiquette of inquiring after someone’s health. Unlike the modern throwaway how are […]

George Crile Sr., founder of the Cleveland Clinic

Portrait of G. W. Crile. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Early days George Crile was an exceptional man, a skilled surgeon who lived at a time when American medicine was emerging from its horse and buggy period and was embracing the principles of aseptic surgery and scientific medicine. Always full of new ideas, he was […]

Children treating children: Anne Shirley as clinician

Kathryne Dycus Madrid, Spain   First edition cover of Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery, published 1908. Cover art by George Fort Gibbs (1870—1942). Public Domain. Childhood classics provide a range of illness narratives, reminding readers of dangers now preventable and even treatable, but also of the universal imperatives of understanding and accommodating […]

Intubation for diphtheria

In 1904 diphtheria was a dangerous killer that suffocated its victims by obstructing the respiratory passages and sometimes required an emergency but dangerous surgical tracheostomy. In this painting a specialist in infectious diseases is avoiding tracheostomy by inserting a tube to bypass the obstruction. He is observed intently by interested physicians, all watching this new […]

How conflict and bureaucracy delayed the elimination of yellow fever

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg, Wikimedia The Golden Age of Bacteriology (1876-1906) saw the emergence of techniques to cultivate bacterial pathogens and develop vaccines and anti-toxin therapies against them. The new bacteriologists rapidly identified the agents causing anthrax, gonorrhea, typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera, tetanus, diphtheria, plague, and […]

El garrotillo: on diphtheria and Goya

Vicent Rodilla Valencia, Spain     Figure 1. El Garrotillo by Francisco de Goya y Lucientes (1808-1812). Private collection. Diphtheria is a bacterial infectious disease caused by Corynebacterium diphtheriae that affects mostly children. Although by 2017 some 85% of infants worldwide have been vaccinated for DTP (diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis), some 19.9 million children remain unvaccinated.1 According to […]

The Grasshopper by Chekhov: folly and regrets

Diphtheria in the days of writers such as Chekhov and Goncharov was a common disease that spread death and devastation across the wide expanse of the Russian Empire. It could kill its victims by its toxic effects on the heart but more often suffocated them with a grayish white membrane in their throat and nasal […]