Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Hektorama

  • Reporting a pandemic

    Francis Christian Saskatoon, Canada   Nonno watching the news. Jakob Montrasio. Taken on December 21, 2011. From Flickr. CC BY 2.0 Dust to dust and doom delivered by newscasts dripping irony in considered doses of despair; feigning knowledge of ignorance, feigning ignorance of absent panic and knowledge from experts claiming uncertainty.   But the web…

  • Washing our hands

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece Ever since Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, washed his hands before condemning Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion, this simple act of personal sanitation has been used as the figurative icon of a disclaimer, the denial of responsibility. Today, in the climate of the current COVID-19 pandemic, handwashing is not…

  • A wider science

    Ahmad ShakeriHowsikan KugathasanToronto, Ontario, Canada Working at a Toronto harm reduction clinic helped reconcile my different points of view on drug addiction. In the classroom, I was a progressive-minded graduate student willing to apply research to improve health outcomes for people who use drugs. But on the street and the subway, my personal policy was…

  • A surgeon and a gentleman: the life of James Barry

    Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   Dr. James Barry with John, a servant, and his dog, Psyche. Unknown Artist. c1850.   “Do not consider whether what I say is a young man speaking, but whether my discussion with you is that of a man of understanding.”1 – Dedication of the thesis of James Barry In November of 1809,…

  • Hiroshima seventy-five years after the bombing

    Cristóbal Berry-CabánFort Bragg, North Carolina, United States “At exactly fifteen minutes past eight in the morning on August 6, 1945, Japanese time, at the moment when the atomic bomb flashed above Hiroshima, Miss Toshiko Sasaki, a clerk in the personnel department of the East Asia Tin Works, had just sat down at her place in…

  • Engage the emotions

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Captivated by the paintings of Caravaggio, I search for them wherever I travel. But no encounter has been as intense and personal as The Taking of Christ in the Beit wing of the National Gallery of Ireland in Dublin. The Taking of Christ depicts the moment of Jesus’s betrayal by…

  • A birth remembered

    F. Gonzalez-CrussiChicago, Illinois, United States Memory is to old age as presbyopia (far-sightedness) is to eyesight. Presbyopia makes you lose the ability to see clearly at a normal near working distance while maintaining a sharp distant vision. Just so the elderly recollect in painstaking detail what happened to them fifty or sixty years ago, yet…

  • The bubonic plague in Eyam

    JMS PearceHull, England, United Kingdom In medicine most instances of outstanding acts of heroic human courage relate to individual patients or to their attendant doctors, nurses, and caregivers. Here is a unique example of the collective self-sacrifice of a tiny rural community, which probably saved the lives of thousands. The year is 1665. The Great…

  • Epidemics from plague to Coronavirus

    Michael YafiHouston, Texas, United States Throughout history humanity has faced many epidemics and pandemics that caused panic and massive casualties. Although in modern times pathogens have shifted from bacteria to viruses, each new epidemic brings back fears of diseases from the past such as bubonic plague, cholera, typhoid, and leprosy. Society has usually responded to…

  • Ferdinand Sauerbruch, father of thoracic surgery

    Annabelle Slingerland Leon Lacquet Leiden, the Netherlands   Ferndinand Sauerbruch at a medical lecture at the University of Zurich, between 1910 and 1917. Source unknown. Accessed via Wikimedia commons. Source Ferdinand Sauerbruch (1875-1951) was one of the most important thoracic surgeons of the first half of the twentieth century, remembered for pioneering a method that…