Tag Archives: HIV

Bloody art

Francesca Portante d’Alessandro Rome, Italy   Crucifix, 1290, Giotto di Bondone, tempera on wood, Florence. Source. Blood has always been depicted in art, from cavemen’s hunts, to medieval altarpieces and battle scenes, to modern film and photography. Blood is able to simultaneously represent both life and death, the sacred and profane, violence and martyrdom, disease […]

From eponym to advocate: the story of Stephen Christmas

Peter Kopplin Toronto, Canada   Picture of Stephen Christmas. Courtesy of Robin Christmas The 1952 Christmas issue of the British Medical Journal (BMJ) had an unusual but fitting article. It was titled “Christmas Disease, a condition previously mistaken for haemophilia.”1 The seminal patient was five-year-old Stephen Christmas and the title suggested an unusual lack of […]

The Red Cross and hematology pioneers

Barnabas Pastory Dar es Salaam, Tanzania   The Red Cross and the Red Crescent emblems at the museum in Geneva. Photo by Julius.kusuma. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons. Providing medical care to suffering humankind constitutes an important part of the Red Cross’ service scope. History records an important connection between the Red Cross and pioneers in […]

A real world of not-so-real blood

Kelsey Ruud Spokane, Washington, United States   Creation in a test tube. Photo courtesy of Pixabay. Sarah Smith* thought today would be like any other day. She would take her kids to school, then go to her job as an office secretary. But Sarah never made it. Passing through an intersection, Sarah’s car was hit […]

Preparing for a zombie apocalypse

Larry Kerr Carlisle, PA, USA   Pieter Bruegel the Elder created this apocalyptic view of a world in 1562 unprepared to handle a pandemic. The painting has been in Museo del Prado in Madrid since 1827. What can we learn from a Zombie Apocalypse? The first thing to learn? It could happen. Anyone who has […]

Yes, I’m positive

George W. Christopher Ada, Michigan, USA     Early tests for HIV were highly sensitive but often gave false-positive results. The Western blot introduced in 1987 still gave 10-20% indeterminate results. Newer tests have improved accuracy and accessibility. Image from US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A quick glance at the afternoon clinic schedule […]

Healing in post-genocide Rwanda

Vigneshwar Subramanian Nivetha Subramanian Cleveland, Ohio, United States   The Apotheosis of War, Vasily Vereshchagin (1871) In April 1994, one of the largest genocides since the Holocaust erupted in Rwanda as the Hutu ethnic majority conducted a targeted slaughter of the Tutsi people.1 In a span of just over 100 days, over 800,000 people were killed.2 […]

Mrs. M’s refusal

Ladan Golestaneh Bronx, NY, USA   My role as a physician includes foregoing a prescriptive approach to some patients in favor of a supportive one. Yielding to a belief system that does not fit the structure of my many years of training feels like a personal failure. But sometimes I know I have to listen […]

Historical reflections on cause, responsibility and blame in medicine

William R. Albury New England, Armidale, Australia   Debauchery and disease In the early years of British settlement in Australia the colonial authorities regarded drunkenness as one of the major evils of the day. Their preoccupation with this social problem was mirrored by the concern of the colony’s medical men with drunkenness as a cause […]

Confidentiality and privacy in public hospitals

David O. Irabor Ibadan, Nigeria   In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, healthcare professionals are bound by ethical codes not to disclose information given to them by their patients. Yet despite the best of efforts, neither confidentiality nor privacy can always be easily guaranteed, as exemplified by a look at problems encountered at a […]