Tag Archives: History

“Between false modesty … and conceit” – Sir Roger Bannister

Jack E. Riggs David B. Watson Morgantown, West Virginia, United States   Statue of Roger Bannister (left) and John Landy (right) at moment Bannister took the lead in their race on August 7, 1954. Statue by Jack Harman, 1967. Photo by Paul Joseph, 2005. Via Wikimedia. CC BY 2.0. Give me one moment in time […]

The Lewis and Clark Expedition: medical ethics in uncharted territory

David Blitzer New York, New York, United States Alvise Guariento Toronto, Ontario, Canada Robert M. Sade Charleston, South Carolina, United States   Detail of “Lewis & Clark at Three Forks,” mural in lobby of Montana House of Representatives. Mural by Edgar Samuel Paxson. Via Wikimedia  In 1803, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, with the backing of […]

Improving health and saving lives: the unusual relationship of religion on sports and health

Ira D. Glick Danielle Kamis Stanford, California, United States Neil Eisenberg San Francisco, California, United States   With permission of the Int Society of Sport Psychiatry Religion has always had a powerful effect on culture. As such, it is surprising that there has been scant literature on the effect of religious beliefs and teachings on […]

“Troubled in my eyes”: the risks of reading and writing

Katherine Harvey London, England, United Kingdom   A medieval miniature showing St Mark reading a book and holding spectacles to his eyes. From Jean Poyer, The Tilliot Hours (c. 1500), The British Library. On January 1, 1660, a young Londoner named Samuel Pepys began to keep a diary. Over the next nine and a half […]

The talented Dr. Cotton and other quacks

Philip R. Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   Portrait of Henry Andrews Cotton from Appleton’s Cyclopædia of American Biography. 1924. Via Wikimedia. Over the centuries there has been a surfeit of talented medical quacks in all parts of the world. The word “quack,” indeed, is derived from the archaic Dutch word “quacksalver,” meaning “boaster who […]

Reconstructing memories and history in One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

Tonse N. K. Raju Gaithersburg, Maryland, United States   García Márquez, G. One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967. Source Courtesy: Harper &Row. “Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.” In the opening sentence of his extraordinary […]

The remarkable Harriet Lane

Colin K. L. Phoon New York, New York, United States   Figure 1. Harriet Lane, accessed from the Library of Congress 09/05/2021. The name “Harriet Lane” is well-known to many pediatricians, but perhaps fewer recognize this woman’s other roles in US history (Hint: She was not a pediatrician!). In fact, the US presidency, the military, […]

The death of James Abram Garfield

Philip Liebson Chicago, Illinois, United States   James Abram Garfield. By Ole Peter Hansen Balling. 1881. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. Public Domain. The medical treatment of some US presidents and ex-presidents has been controversial. One example is George Washington, who in 1799 at age sixty-seven suffered from an acute throat ailment that was treated […]

A look back at insulin

Shrestha Saraf Sutton Coldfield, United Kingdom Sanjay Saraf Sudarshan Ramachandran Birmingham, United Kingdom   Sir Frederick Banting and Dr. Charles Best co-discoverers of Insulin. Library and Archives Canada. Via Wikimedia. As we approach the centenary of the isolation, purification, and clinical use of insulin, it is an appropriate moment to reflect on the impact of […]

Syndrome K and the Fatebenefratelli Hospital

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Giovanni Borromeo – Italian doctor – Righteous Among the Nations. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 “Whoever saves one life, it is as if he saved the whole world.” — Talmud (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)1   Italy was an ally of Nazi Germany and was required to enact anti-Semitic laws.2 Beginning in […]