Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Infection

  • Of lice and men

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “By consistently tormenting them / with reminders of the lice in their children’s hair, the / School Physician first brought their hatred down on him / But by this familiarity they grew used to him, and, so / at last, they took him for their friend and adviser.”– “The Poor,” William Carlos…

  • “Panama disease”: A pandemic…for bananas

    Elizabeth RudaChicago, Illinois, United States The average person does not go to the grocery store, look around the produce section, and think, “Wow, these foods could be extinct within the next few years.” Yet extinction is possible in the case of the most common cultivar of banana sold today, the Cavendish.1 At the same time…

  • How a small town kept smallpox small

    Annabelle SlingerlandLeiden, the Netherlands To make a mountain out of a molehill is a vice, but to keep the mole underground is a virtue. The little town of Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands was not accustomed to seeing mountains, but when a molehill first came into sight, it promptly flattened it into the…

  • Ford Madox Brown: His model and his medical grandfather

    Few ladies would look their best when painted in bed with their hair down while recovering from a dangerous infection. But Emma Hill looks beautiful, resting, her coiffure immaculate, sheets unruffled, a flower in her hand. In 1848 while still in her teens, she had become the model and then mistress of Ford Madox Brown,…

  • Defining dead

    Arya Shah Rochester, MN, USA   Park Point Trail The checklist of death was foreign to me when I first ran down its list. It’s hard to describe that encounter with death, but let’s see if I can convey the gist. It started on a bright summer morning. A boy woke up for a day…

  • The middle finger: identity crisis in the emergency room

    Lara BazelonSan Francisco, California, United States I am a lawyer who writes. I write about the criminal justice system, single parenting, divorce, and I am also an aspiring novelist. I had always written, scribbling in diaries as a little kid, writing early in the morning before I went to work or on the weekends, eking…