Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Doctors

  • Compassion in the emergency room

    Raymond BellisStony Brook, New York, United States Yet another shift in the Emergency Department—between the frenzied rush of staff, the constant pinging of monitors, and the chaotic overhead announcements, I didn’t find the environment particularly conducive to healing. But as a dedicated student in my third year of medical school, I eagerly picked up a…

  • The sleep of doctors

    Barry MeisenbergAnnapolis, Maryland, United States The gods who rule 2AM summon the doctor from sleep to the sequestered place where the veneer of unearned pride is bleached away. You forgot to re-order a sodium level on the whiskered old fisherman with lung cancer. It was low last week and might be lower tomorrow. He looked…

  • Kwashiorkor

    Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States An eleven-month-old Egyptian infant sat wailing on a cot, his abdomen pouched out and covered by spider-like purplish veins. His tiny arms and legs were like sticks, except for his swollen ankles. He was brought in by his mother who knew that his food and care would be free,…

  • Pink and yellow

    Govind Krishnan Durham, North Carolina, United States   The Magpie by Claude Monet. 1868 – 1869. Musée d’Orsay. Via Wikimedia  I am wearing pink, I have a rosy glow My breaths are even, measured, slow The doctors come and go. Come and go. Come and go. But sometimes they mutter, their heads bowed low. And…

  • Notes on a first abortion

    Henry Bair Stanford, California, United States The first time I saw a late-term abortion by dilation and evacuation, I was surprised that it was a fairly minor procedure. I was to observe the termination at twenty-three weeks of gestation as part of my obstetrics-gynecology rotation, and while the procedure can be performed in a clinic rather…

  • 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 MatherChris MillardIan SabroeSheffield, 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. Beliefs about uncertainty in…

  • 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…

  • Heartbreak in the nursery

    Shruthi Ravishankar Chennai, India   Image description: Cherry red spot as seen in Tay Sachs disease. The center of the fovea appears bright red because it is surrounded by a milky halo. Photo by Jonathan Trobe, MD. 6 September 2011. Public Domain. Source I began the long drive to the pediatric hospital on a route peppered…

  • Cinema MD: A History of Medicine on Screen

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK In 1895 Wilhelm Röntgen discovered X-rays in his lab in Wurzburg and the Lumiere brothers demonstrated cinema in Paris. X-rays revolutionized medical practice by enabling doctors to see inside the body for the first time without resorting to surgery. Cinema, also a form of image production, revolutionized entertainment in the twentieth…