Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: mortality

  • Bone headdress

    Susan Sample Salt Lake City, Utah, United States After artwork created by a person with cancer   Cow’s Skull with Calico Roses. Painting by Georgia O’Keeffe, 1931. Art Institute of Chicago. No known restrictions on publication. Why tens of bones linked with silver chain into an earthly veil? I gaze at other entries: hand-stitched quilts…

  • The proximity of death

    Paul C. Rosenblatt St. Paul, Minnesota, United States   A family outing at Lincoln Park in Chicago a few weeks before the author became ill. Pictured are the author, his mother Rose Rosenblatt, and his sister Doris Rosenblatt (now Kopfstein). Photo taken by the author’s father Harry Rosenblatt and published with permission of the author.…

  • Goals of care

    Leah Grant  Portland, Oregon   Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash It was the beginning of my intern year and I felt like an impostor. Facing new responsibilities in both the hospital and clinic, I was aware of my lack of experience when patients asked for my medical opinion. But as I began to see…

  • Emily, Usher, and American Gothic perspectives on mortality

    Olga ReykhartLiam ButchartStony Brook, New York, United States In an editorial for Medical Humanities, Gillie Bolton notes that death is a common theme in literature and also in medicine. She writes, “Death, dying, and bereavement are dark threads running through all literature. Not only are they life’s sole certainties, along with birth; they are also…

  • Gilgamesh and medicine’s quest to conquer death

    Anika KhanKarachi, Pakistan “O Uta-napishti, what should I do and where should I go?A thief has taken hold of my [flesh!]For there in my bed-chamber Death does abide,and wherever [I] turn, there too will be Death.”—From The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Standard Version, Tablet XI1 “O Uta-napishti, what should I do and where should I…

  • Unfinished business: end of life care and regrets in the films of Akira Kurosawa

    X.M. Griffiths Tuckahoe, NY, USA   Director Akira Kurosawa (center) with actors Takashi and Miki Odagiri on the set of Ikiru (1952). Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library. Death and mortality were recurrent themes in Akira Kurosawa’s works but the director examined the issues most acutely in the films Ikiru (1952) and…

  • Breathing

    Laura Anne White Rochester, MN, USA   Author’s statement: I wrote this poem on a piece of scrap paper around five am, towards the end of a night shift. About fifteen minutes after coming into work that evening, a patient of mine who had been somnolent struggled to breathe. Moments like this have a way…