Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: eponyms

  • A note on medical metaphors

    JMS PearceHull, England When Winston Churchill memorably referred to his bouts of depression as “black dog,” in two words he painted a picture that embraced feelings, which otherwise would have taken hundreds of words to describe. I have to confess a liking for certain medical metaphors. Though they can be overused in medical and biological…

  • Sanderson’s Thumb and the end of an eponymous era?

    Kit Green Sanderson Canada   A thumb exhibiting a positive “Sanderson’s Thumb” sign. Photo by the author. If you are in the medical profession, you have likely heard of the Babinski reflex or McBurney’s point, but have you ever heard of Sanderson’s thumb? No? Let me explain . . . Sleep deprived, overworked, and two…

  • Doctors like eponymity

    Denis GillDublin, Ireland I must confess to liking medical eponyms. As a medical student in 1960s Dublin, we were taught the names of famous Irish physicians of the Georgian period (1780–1840), a time when Dublin was famed for its bedside teaching. Their names evoked an interest in the history of medicine and in clinical signs.…

  • The language of medicine

    Rebecca MacDonell-Yilmaz Providence, Rhode Island Language, both spoken and written, plays an enormous role in the education that we absorb from our predecessors and pass on to our successors. I realized this early on during my clinical rotations as a medical student, as I stared, lost, at the fishbone diagrams scratched out in residents’ notes…