Tag Archives: International

Epidemics from plague to Coronavirus

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Copper engraving of Doctor Schnabel [i.e Dr. Beak], a plague doctor in seventeenth-century Rome. From the Internet Archive’s copy of Eugen Hollände Die Karikatur und Satire in der Medizin: Medico-Kunsthistorische Studie von Professor Dr. Eugen Holländer. circa 1656. Throughout history humanity has faced many epidemics and pandemics that caused […]

Blood is the life

Saameer Pani Sydney, Australia   The Beheading of Saint John the Baptist. Giovanni di Paolo. 1455/60. The Art Institute of Chicago. Vampire—the  very  word  itself  conjures  up  images  of  supernatural  creatures  who  look  not  unlike  you  and  me,  prowl  about  at  night, prey on unsuspecting souls, and sink their fangs into innumerable, hapless victims to […]

John Arbuthnot: physician, wit, and creator of John Bull

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Portrait of Arbuthnot on reprint of John Bull In the light of recent British parliamentary chaos, by chance I discovered this irresistible quotation: “All political parties die at last of swallowing their own lies” -John Arbuthnot At a time when in most westernized countries physicians and […]

Letting go of logic

Nimisha Bajaj Columbus, Ohio, United States   Last Supper by Leonardo DaVinci. Photo by Paris Orlando. November 2019. Public Domain “He’s here for aspiration pneumonia. He doesn’t want a G-tube even though we tried to explain to him that if he continues to eat and drink by mouth, this will keep happening and he will […]

Is Mary Seacole the new mother of nursing?

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Sketch of Mary Seacole by Crimean war artist William Simpson (1823–1899), c. 1855. Source. The promotion of Jamaican businesswoman and “doctress” Mary Seacole as the pioneer nurse in place of Florence Nightingale was given considerable credence early in 2013, when Seacole was named a “pioneer of health care” by the UK Department […]

Political obfuscation and medical speculation

Charles G. Kels San Antonio, Texas, United States   Grover Cleveland, 22nd (1885-1889) and 24th President (1893-1897) of the United States, with trademark mustache intact. He is the only US president to serve non-consecutive terms. National Archives, Washington, D.C., USA. Public domain. Politicians have long endeavored to keep their health concerns secret. In US presidential […]

America’s Arab refugees: vulnerability and health on the margins

Richard Zhang New Haven, Connecticut, United States   Image used with permission of Marcia C. Inhorn. Arab refugees, like others throughout history, have grappled with issues of somatic and mental health, cultural belonging, and fertility. Timely and eye-opening, Marcia Inhorn’s America’s Arab Refugees is the first anthropological book to focus on the aforementioned refugees and […]

Karl Landsteiner and the discovery of blood groups

Safia Benaissa Mostganem, Algeria   Karl Landsteiner (1868–1943), Austrian pathologist, hematologist and serologist; discoverer of the blood groups. Albert Hilscher. circa 1910. Accessed via Wikimedia Commons Karl Landsteiner was the Austrian scientist who recognized that humans had different blood groups and made it possible for physicians to transfuse blood safely. He entered medical school at […]

The gift of life—from whom?

George M. Pantalos Louisville, Kentucky, United States    Students at the “Banned Blood” display outside the University of Louisville Red Barn, where a Red Cross blood drive was being held on campus in 2011.  The student’s goal was to raise awareness about the FDA lifetime deferral from blood donation of all men who have sex […]

Bleeding science dry: the history of scientific racism and blood

Matthew Casas Kansas City, United States   Help the Red Cross. U.S. Food Administration. Educational Division. Advertising Section. 1917 – 1919. National Archives Catalog, identifier 512661. One might be familiar with the expression “We All Bleed Red.” But what exactly does blood have to say about our “humanity”? Ripe with good intention, the aforementioned mantra […]