Tag Archives: Mariella Scerri

The history of quarantine and contact tracing as surveillance strategies

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Malta   A view of the city of Malta, on the side of the Lazaretto or pest-house, where ships perform quarantine, by Joseph Goupy, around 1740-1760. Public Domain. Source. Quarantine, from the Italian quaranta, meaning forty, is a centuries-old public health measure instituted to control the spread of infectious diseases by […]

To wear or not to wear? Attitudes towards mask wearing then and now

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Mellieha, Malta   In September 1918, the Red Cross recommended two-layer gauze masks to halt the spread of “plague.” Image: Public Domain via Wikimedia. More than a century ago, as the 1918 influenza pandemic raged around the globe, masks of gauze and cheesecloth became the facial frontlines in the battle against […]

The use of language in health and illness narratives

Mariella Scerri Victor Grech  Malta   Portrait of Virginia Woolf in 1902. By George Charles Beresford. Public Domain. Via Wikimedia. “While I was as busy as anyone on the sunny plain of life, I heard of you laid aside in the shadowy recess where our sunshine of hope and joy could never penetrate to you.” […]

Wet nursing: a historical perspective

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   A Russian wet nurse, c. 1913. Painted by Frederic de Haenen public domain via Wikimedia. Wet nursing, a form of breastfeeding provided by someone other than an infant’s biological mother,1 has a long and sometimes controversial history. Death in childbirth, a mother’s illness, as well as cultural habits and circumstance […]

Drawing parallels in pandemic art

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta Victor Grech Pembroke, Malta   Photo of the crowd at an undetermined 1918 Georgia Tech home football game. Photo by Thomas Carter, Public domain. Via Wikimedia. “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down […]

Faith and patron saints during the Black Death

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Saint Roch. 1502. Francesco Francia.  Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain.  The Black Death of 1348 was the greatest biomedical disaster in European history. Although it was not the first plague epidemic, the Black Death swept through Europe, killing millions indiscriminately and affecting society like no other natural calamity.1 Attempts to understand the […]

The 1918 Pandemic—the collective story versus the personal narrative

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   U.S. Army Field Hospital No. 29, Hollerich, Luxembourg Interior view- Influenza ward. Copyright Statement: The National Library of Medicine believes this item to be in the public domain. Stalin’s claim that a “single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic”1 reverberates at a time when the world […]

“A Veritable Angel of Mercy”: the sardonic representation of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Group photograph of the first twenty Navy Nurses, appointed in 1908. Naval Photographer. 1908. Wikimedia. Public Domain. Critical acclaim and popular opinion have elevated Kesey’s first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest published in 1962, to something of a modern classic, much read and written about as well as adapted […]

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 […]