Tag Archives: Diseases

A walk with giants

Herbert Ausubel Valley Stream, New York, United States   Herbert Ausubel HMS making rounds with Dr. Eliot Joslin the morning after Dr. Joslin underwent an appendectomy. Drawing by Dr. Ernest Greenberg and Louise Chiasson. Having had the opportunity to receive a medical education at Harvard Medical School, I was exposed to several individuals who were […]

Giorgio Baglivi and The Practice of Physick

James A. Marcum Waco, Texas, United States   Figure 1. Illustration of Giorgio Baglivi from The Practice of Physick by Giorgio Baglivi. Scan courtesy of James A. Marcum “To form a right Judgment of Diseases, is a very difficult Matter.” With this opening sentence, Giorgio Baglivi (Figure 1) began his 1696 treatise De Praxi Medica, […]

Young, pretty, and not quite right

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Photo by Anthony Papagiannis. Unless we are in pediatrics, we start in clinical practice with our patients tending to be in the age range of our parents, or even older. Increasingly, as the grey in our temples is promoted to silver, their mean age gets closer to ours, and the […]

Otology in late Victorian Ireland

Tony Ryan Cork, Ireland   Figure 1: Unblocking the eustachian tube using Politzer’s bag. Source Introduction Henry MacNaughton Jones (1844-1918) was born in Cork City and graduated MD at Queen’s College, Cork, in 1864. Just four years later he founded the thirty-bed Cork Ophthalmic and Aural Hospital, where he practiced as a physician and surgeon. […]

Walter Russell Brain DM FRCP FRS (1895–1966)

JMS Pearce  East Yorks, England   Lord Brain. From The Royal London Hospital. Source Russell Brain (Fig 1) was born at Clovelly, Denmark Road, Reading, on 23 October 1895, the only son of Walter John Brain, solicitor, and his wife, Edith Alice. A quiet, reserved man of enormous intellect and integrity, he was revered as […]

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 […]

Thriving in the face of uncertainty

Sally Mather Chris Millard Ian Sabroe Sheffield, England   The experience of uncertainty has appeared as a frequent narrative in articles, autobiographies, and memoirs written by doctors over the last century. A persistent belief that better training, tests, evidence, and pathways will reduce uncertainty has not been borne out in the experience of contemporary clinicians. […]

Great expectations

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Summer Calm—image by the author “Doctor, I want you to treat her as a forty-year old!” What is the appropriate answer to a demand like that from a daughter about the treatment of her eighty-eight-year-old mother? Any suggestion that her mother might not do well even with the best treatment […]

Epidemic encephalitis lethargica

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Table 1. QUARANTINABLE DISEASES Cholera Diphtheria Infectious tuberculosis Plague Smallpox Yellow fever Viral hemorrhagic fevers Severe acute respiratory syndromes Influenza pandemic From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Legal authorities for isolation and quarantine. Source The pandemic Covid-19 infection, first reported from China in December 2019, reminds us […]

Plagues and prejudice

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Honolulu Chinatown fire of 1900. Hawaii State Archives.  It was a calm, clear January morning on the gritty streets of paradise. Honolulu, the capital of the newly-annexed U.S. territory of Hawaii, was ushering out a century of upheaval that had included the arrival of explorers, […]