Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: meningitis

  • Dr. Gerhard Domagk and prontosil: Dyeing beats dying

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”– Albert Einstein Dr. Gerhard Domagk (1895–1964) was a German pathologist and bacteriologist whose research led to a discovery that saved innumerable lives. He worked for the Bayer chemical company and was also a professor at the University of…

  • No complaints, only symptoms

    Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia “No complaints, only symptoms,” I told my cardiologist this year. How dare I complain? I am eighty-four. Thirty-two years have passed since my quintuple coronary artery bypass; eighteen years since a diagnosis, in one of eleven biopsy samples, of invasive prostate cancer—left untreated, because so few of us die from it; five…

  • Derek Ernest Denny-Brown

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1: Image in the public domain. Credit: The National Library of Medicine. Source Amongst the titans of medicine, it is not easy to pick out those whose footprints will not fade with passing time. Derek Denny-Brown (Fig 1) was one. He was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. After his…

  • Professionalism in crisis: Dr. Winkel and The Third Man

    Paul DakinLondon, United Kingdom Times of crisis may highlight the best and worst characteristics of people. Many of us yearn to be heroes and yet what is revealed under pressure may fall short of our ideal. Doctors share this human frailty. Is medical training and professionalism enough to overcome personal weakness, allowing our behavior to…

  • The other Charles Darwin (1758–1778)

    JMS PearceHull, England, United Kingdom “’Precursoritis’ is the bane of historiography.”– Stephen Jay Gould One of the best-known and important discoveries in the practice of medicine was the introduction of digitalis by William Withering (Fig 1). It was the subject of controversy that involved the Darwin family. For almost two hundred years digitalis was the…

  • Did Macbeth have syphilis?

    Eleanor J. Molloy Dublin, Ireland Introduction Syphilis was endemic in Elizabethan England and it was estimated that nearly 20% of the population of London were infected.1 The signs and symptoms were commonly known to the average person and would be potentially recognizable to the audience in Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare mentions syphilis more times than any…

  • New life

    Hannah JoynerTakoma Park, Maryland, United States At first I thought I had a sinus infection, expecting to come home with a course of antibiotics. The doctor initially agreed, but when he heard my account of facial numbness spreading around my left eye, he referred me immediately to a neurologist, who sent me for an emergency…