Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Gregory Rutecki

  • Ladies in red: Medical and metaphorical reflections on La Traviata

    Milad MattaGregory RuteckiLyndhurst, Ohio, United States “. . . phthisic beauty[’s] . . . most famous operatic embodiment was Violetta Valery . . .This physical type became not only fashionable but sexy . . . When a society does not understand—and cannot control—a disease, ground seems to open up for mythologizing . . . it.”1…

  • Should primary hyperaldosteronism be renamed Litynski-Conn Syndrome?

    Gregory RuteckiLyndhurst, Ohio, United States Michael Litynski M.D. was born in 1906 in Lodz, Poland. As a physician during World War II, he joined the Polish Resistance. He treated resistance fighters and was active during the infamous Warsaw Uprising in 1945. Dr. Litynski was also awarded the Yad Vashem medal for his brave efforts on…

  • A Dickensian medical education

    Gregory RuteckiLyndhurst, Ohio, United States My four grandparents were Polish immigrants who came to America in the early twentieth century. They had no formal education, neither in Poland nor in their new home in Chicago, but worked hard and saved money to pay for the college education of their grandchildren. Life was not easy for…

  • Poe’s consumptive paradox

    Gregory RuteckiCleveland, Ohio, United States Tuberculosis may have killed more people than any pathogen in history1 leaving an array of terrible stigmata whenever it extinguished life. The essential image of tuberculosis in the eighteenth century was that of foul decay.2 Morgagni vividly described the road to a consumptive death as, “(she) threw up pus by…

  • Japanese-American internment camps in World War Two

    Gregory Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Bill Mauldin’s cartoons regarding the NISEI 15   “What constitutes an American? Not color…race…An American…(is) one in whose heart is engraved the immortal second sentence of the Declaration of Independence.”1  “Any person who considers himself…a member of Western Society inherits the Western past from Athens and Jerusalem to Runneymede…

  • Reflections on early 20th century tuberculosis: a juxtaposition of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain and Edward L. Trudeau’s Autobiography

    Gregory RuteckiCleveland, Ohio, United States The early twentieth century was an auspicious time for medicine. Physicians of the era would be the first to transform the mysterious “captain of all these men of death” into a living, “breathing” bacillus named Mycobacterium tuberculosis.1 As a corollary of the fundamental discovery, diagnostic and therapeutic innovations began in…

  • Peleliu as a paradigm for PTSD: The two thousand yard stare

    Gregory Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio, United States   “I noticed a tattered marine…staring stiffly at nothing. His mind had crumbled in battle…his eyes were like two black empty holes in his head…Last evening he came down out of the hills. Told to get some sleep, he found a shell crater and slumped into it…First light has…