Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Jayant Radhakrishnan

  • Diptheria: Horses and dogs to the rescue

    Jayant RadhakrishnanChicago, Illinois, United States Pierre-Fidèle Bretonneau described diphtheria as a distinct entity in 1821.1 He named it after the Greek word for leather2 because of the thick gray membrane that forms in the throat. Physicians before him, starting with Hippocrates, considered asphyxiating diseases as a group that also included tonsillitis, croup, and malignant angina.…

  • Sporozoites: The elusive assassins

    Jayant RadhakrishnanChicago, Illinois, United States Almost 5,000 years ago, the Chinese described a disease that presented with intermittent fevers, enlarged spleens, and a predilection to epidemics. Those malarial infections were possibly caused by Plasmodium vivax (P. vivax) since P. malariae is unlikely to cause epidemics. The Chinese did not mention mortality following these symptoms; therefore,…

  • An ode to the cloaca

    Jayant RadhakrishnanDarien, Illinois, United StatesAnant Radhakrishnan Amarillo, Texas, United States The term cloaca was first used around 600 BC by the Romans who named their main drainage channel the “Cloaca Maxima” or the Greatest Sewer. It drained the local marshes and all water and effluent from Rome into the Tiber River. They continued expanding it so…

  • Forgotten pioneers of pediatric cardiac surgery

    Jayant RadhakrishnanDarien, Illinois, United States Credit for pioneering heart surgery in children is primarily given to Robert Gross of Boston Children’s Hospital and Alfred Blalock at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. However, two Chicago surgeons who saved many lives with their innovations in the same era have been largely forgotten. In the first half of…

  • Unconventional wisdom: A risky business

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open that your brains fall out. – Carl Sagan   Illustration of veno-arterial ECMO in a neonate. Arrows show the direction of blood flow. Blood is withdrawn via a catheter placed at the junction of the superior vena cava…

  • Gain of function

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   “It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” – Enrico Fermi (1901–1954)   SARS-CoV-2 virus anatomy with proteins labeled. Created by Maya Peters Kostman for the Innovative Genomics Institute. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. “Gain of Function” (GoF) burst into…

  • “Can you define the word ‘woman’?”

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   Venus is considered to be the epitome of feminine beauty in the western world. Does it matter that she has no arms? Venus de Milo. Louvre Museum. Photo by Tupungato on Dreamstime. “The more you know the more you realize you don’t know.” — Aristotle (384 BCE-322 BCE)…

  • The appendicitis conundrum

    Jayant RadhakrishnanNathaniel KooDarien, Illinois, United States Acute appendicitis is the most common abdominal surgical emergency in the world. One would expect consensus regarding its management, but that has not been the case from the time the appendix was first identified. Galen (129–216 CE) was not permitted to dissect human bodies, so he dissected monkeys. Since…

  • Orion H. Stuteville: A surgeon’s surgeon

    Jayant RadhakrishnanDarien, Illinois, United StatesBangalore JayaramMysuru, Karnataka, India The Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois fostered many notable American surgeons. It was also the birthplace of major medical and surgical advances. Dr. Orion Harry Stuteville (February 15, 1902 – May 26, 1994), or “Steudy”, was one such surgical giant. He had a unique life and…

  • Recognition at last

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States Andrew Moyer, in his Peoria laboratory, discovered the process for mass producing penicillin. USDA-ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research. Public domain.    “Though she be but little, she is fierce.”  — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream     The adage “out of sight, out of mind” appears to…