Tag Archives: Medical Humanities

Monet’s illnesses: beyond cataracts

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, USA   Fig. 1: Claude Monet, Apple Trees in Blossom, 1872, Union League Club of Chicago. Fig. 2: Claude Monet, The Japanese Footbridge, ca. 1922, Modern Museum of Art New York. No other artist in the world is more beloved than Claude Monet (1840-1926), the father of French Impressionism. From Shanghai […]

Theodor Kocher (1841-1917)

Emil Theodor Kocher. published in 1909 in Les Prix Nobel p. 66. Via Wikimedia. Theodor Kocher was the first surgeon to ever receive the Nobel Prize. He was born in 1841 in Bern, Switzerland, went to school there, and was first in his class. He studied medicine in Bern and graduated summa cum laude, then went […]

COVID-19 and the Black Death

Colleen Donnelly  Denver, Colorado, United States   A street during the plague in London with a death cart and mourners. Colour wood engraving by E. Evans. Wellcome Library no. 6918i. Source During the fourteenth century waves of the bubonic plague washed across Europe. Doomsday books of the age described an apocalypse that wiped out one-quarter […]

The Emberá of Panama

L. J. Sandlow George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Emberá are an indigenous people who live near the Panama-Columbia border. There are about 33,000 living in Darién, Panama, and 50,000 in Colombia. Until 1960 most lived in extended family settlements along the rivers. Since the 60s many have moved together into small villages, […]

Budapest: medicine and paprika

L. J. Sandlow George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   The Magyars, ancestors of modern Hungarians, came from the region of the Ural Mountains and invaded Europe around AD 800. Crossing the Carpathian Mountains, they conquered the Pannonian plain and established a large and important medieval kingdom. In 1526 they were defeated at the decisive […]

Asclepius at Epidaurus

L. J. Sandlow George Dunea Chicago, Illinois, United States   An Athenian seeking a cure for his afflictions in the fourth century BC had the option of visiting several competing sanctuaries, at Delphi, Olympia, or Epidaurus. To reach Epidaurus, the Athenian would bypass Megara and Corinth, then turn south and find himself at the shrine […]

Learning about children

Canon Brodar Miami, Florida, United States   The Infant Hercules, ca. 1785–89. Sir Joshua Reynolds, British. Princeton University Art Museum. Museum purchase, Surdna Fund. I began my first clinical rotation excited but fearful. Medical students are taught about pediatric pathology and developmental milestones, but nothing about working with children and their families. I had heard […]

The Plague and physician burnout

Geoffrey Rubin Mark Abrams D. Edmund Anstey New York, New York, United States   [Bedside scenes: Doctors visit patient]. 1534. The National Library of Medicine. In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague,1 Doctor Rieux is a consummate physician, a hero and a “true healer.” His main charge is to compassionately perform his duty—a matter, in his […]

Emily, Usher, and American Gothic perspectives on mortality

Olga Reykhart Liam Butchart Stony Brook, New York, United States   1894-1895 Illustration by Aubrey Beardsley of the short story “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Edgar Allan Poe. Accessed via Wikimedia. In an editorial for Medical Humanities, Gillie Bolton notes that death is a common theme in literature and also in medicine. […]

The literary breakdown in Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch

Carol-Ann Farkas Boston, Massachusetts, United States   The Goldfinch By Carel Fabritius. 1654. Mauritshuis. Public Domain. Wikimedia. I. Diagnostically speaking, the “nervous” or “mental” breakdown is not a thing. The term has never been formally used in psychology, which has long preferred specific, definable categorizations of symptoms and conditions: stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, trauma.1 And yet […]