Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: gangrene

  • Edward Gibbon’s decline and fall

    The author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire was fifty-two years old when “after the completion of a toilsome and successful work” he set about writing his autobiography. “Truth, naked and unblushing” was to be his exposition, the style simple, though the long habit of correct writing might have produced an “appearance…

  • Chinese footbinding: A millennium of mutilation

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Foot binding is the most incendiary and least controversial subject in modern Chinese history.”1– Dorothy Ko, professor of History and Women’s Studies, Barnard College Foot binding was practiced in China from the tenth century through most of the twentieth century. It involved breaking the bones and tightly binding the feet of young…

  • Infectious diseases in the Civil War

    Lloyd Klein San Francisco, California, United States The main cause of death during the American Civil War was not battle injury but disease. About two-thirds of the 620,000 deaths of Civil War soldiers were caused by disease, including 63% of Union fatalities. Only 19% of Union soldiers died on the battlefield and 12% later succumbed to…

  • Achilles and his famous tendon

    Krzyś StachakBielsko-Biala, Poland The Achilles tendon is one of the best-known parts of the human body not only because of its name but also because injuries to it are so common. As the largest tendon in the body, it connects the heel bones to the calf muscles and allows vertical movement of the foot, so…

  • Professionalism in crisis: Dr. Winkel and The Third Man

    Paul Dakin London, United Kingdom   Film Forum: The Third Man Times of crisis may highlight the best and worst characteristics of people. Many of us yearn to be heroes and yet what is revealed under pressure may fall short of our ideal. Doctors share this human frailty. Is medical training and professionalism enough to…

  • The last illness of Édouard Manet

    George DuneaJames L. FranklinChicago, Illinois Édouard Manet (1832–1883) was one of the most famous modernist painters of nineteenth-century France. He painted life as creatively and elegantly as he lived in it, translating onto canvas the fashionable salons, racetracks, and picnics of the Parisians.  With one foot artistically in the past and another in the future,…

  • Otto von Bismarck, the Iron Chancellor

    Otto von Bismarck was born into a family of Junkers in Brandenburg in 1815. Becoming prime minister of Prussia at the age of forty-seven in 1862, he remained in power for twenty-eight years. During this time he united Germany under Prussian hegemony; defeated Denmark, Austria, and France in three wars; annexed Schleswig-Holstein, Alsace, and Lorraine…

  • Louis XIV and his ailments

    Introduction For over 300 years King Louis XIV has occupied a special place in the heart of every Frenchman. He brought glory to his country, extended its boundaries, and promoted the arts and letters so that French culture became second to none in Europe. For many decades his neighbors trembled at the sound of his…

  • Madame Bovary: The clubfoot operation

    Charles Bovary is a country medical practitioner, mediocre, a simple man, not the brightest, but not unambitious. He reads that a simple tendon cutting operation could cure the village stable boy’s club foot, perhaps also bringing recognition to himself and celebrity to the village. At night he studies, trying to work things out. Is it…