Tag Archives: Fall 2010

Just like that

Kanani Titchen Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   Timekeeper by Vesna Jovanovic Ay, but to die, and go we know not where, To lie in cold obstruction and to rot, This sensible warm motion to become A kneaded clod . . . William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure Claudio: Act III, Sc. i   “Happy New Year!” […]

The Gone-A-Gram

Joel L. Chinitz Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility, Pennsylvania, United States   “Have I got this right? When you . . . eh . . . reach eighty points . . . you’re gone.” “Yes sir. That’s right.” “But if you have seventy-nine . . . you’re still here.” Harry Crenshaw looked into the faces […]

The lesser of evils

Farrin Manian St. Louis, Missouri, United States   “Staph infection” was the last consult of the night. Even before laying eyes on him, the nursing staff warned me that the patient, John, was already hinting about leaving the hospital no more than 24 hours after his admission. As I walked into his dimly lit hospital room, I […]

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Christopher H. Cameron Kelso, Scottish Borders, United Kingdom   Cheviot Hills in early spring The call came at two o’clock from John, a far-flung hill farmer/patient, who sounded puzzled and alarmed. Two teenage girls had arrived at his door in distress and with a garbled tale. They and a third young girl had been dropped […]

Therapeutic beauty

Elizabeth Lee Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States A longer version of this article was published in American Art, Volume 18, Number 3. © 2004 by The University of Chicago Press.   Abbott Handerson Thayer, Angel, 1887.  Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C. Gift of John Gellatly In the late 1880s, the painter Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) […]

The Tyranny of Optimism – A Hectic in My Blood

James B. Rickert Bloomington, Indiana, USA Poet’s statement: “The Tyranny of Optimism” was written after I had spoken to a cancer support group. I became angry when it became apparent that all of us had experienced well-intentioned healthy people asking us to do the impossible: put aside all negative emotions—not mourn the loss of our […]

Unbent, Unbroken

Richard D. Sontheimer Salt Lake City, USA Poet’s statement: The human midbrain is about emotion. The forebrain is about analysis. Human behavior results from a delicate conversation between the midbrain and forebrain. Medicine, primarily an analytic activity, is done largely within a data-enriched forebrain. The emotional midbrain is the ugly stepchild of medicine. Young physicians […]


Ron Domen Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States   Poet’s statement: Being a physician provides very real and intimate encounters with many lives. For the physician who also writes poetry, the poem is an opportunity to capture the seemingly disparate, random particulars of life and of patient’s stories and to seek universal truths. However, most of the […]


Shira Ellenberg Chicago, Illinois, United States   We stand in a close circle around Michelle as she hands out yellow isolation gowns. We are putting on gloves, preparing ourselves, taking deep breaths. We are solemn, doe-eyed and beginning a collective inaudible tachypnic chorus. She tells us about the first time she performed post mortem care. […]

A Journal of Rehabilitation

Eliette Markhbein New York, New York, USA Poet and artist’s statement: I started to write poetry a year after a traumatic brain injury and damage to my spine, the result of being struck by a speeding car. It stemmed from the necessity to escape pain and mental chaos as well as the physical and emotional […]