Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Pain

  • Surgery, gynecology, obstetrics, and pain

    Jayant RadhakrishnanChicago, Illinois, United States Pain caused by surgical interventions is incorrectly considered an unimportant, self-limiting inconvenience. “Let them scream—it is a relief of nature,” said Benjamin Winslow Dudley, a professor of anatomy, surgery and medicine at Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky from 1817 to 1850. If Dudley’s unanesthetized patients squirmed during an operation, he would…

  • Traumatic experience and creativity: René Magritte

    Mirjana Stojkovic-IvkovicBelgrade, Serbia A painter’s creativity often results from artistic inspiration, but it can also be a manifestation of fear, pain, and suffering. René Magritte (1898–1967), a Belgian painter and great figure in modern art, expressed his thoughts and his feelings on the canvas. His unique style and original ideas make him one of the…

  • Pain versus survival

    Marissa Armoogam Trinidad & Tobago, West Indies   Painting of Jan De Doot by Carel van Savoyen. 1650s. Portrait Collection of the Laboratory of Pathology, Leiden University. Via Wikimedia. Pain has long been a given in any surgical procedure, but thanks to the many advances in medicine and particularly in anesthesia, the experience of insurmountable…

  • Past, present, and future of psychedelic medicine

    Jennifer Keehn Baja California, Mexico   Photo by Merlin Lightpainting from Pexels While there are now more clinical trials than ever before on the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, the medicinal use of such substances is not new. Indigenous cultures worldwide have used plants, roots, vines, and fungi that produce altered states of consciousness in healing rituals…

  • Gav’s Frida Kahlo: Heroine of Pain

    Jimin MathewBangalore, India Lucy SamuelPuducherry, India In Frida Kahlo: Heroine of Pain (2017), Gavin Aung Than (Gav), an Australian artist, uses comics to capture the lingering pain and excruciating maladies of the famous Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and her evolution towards artistic excellence. This article analyzes the visual and verbal metaphors deployed by Gav to…

  • Pain management

    Andrew YimHamden, Connecticut Once a month, Ada tells me about her pain and then I write a script for oxycodone. When Ada tires of my Spanish or I of her English, we use a phone interpreter until the delays and pauses wear us down and we switch back to our pidgin Spanglish. Some days she…

  • Goals of care

    Leah Grant Portland, Oregon 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 the same patients again and again in the…

  • The use of language in health and illness narratives

    Mariella ScerriVictor Grech Malta While I was as busy as anyoneon the sunny plain of life, I heardof you laid aside in the shadowyrecess where our sunshine ofhope and joy could neverpenetrate to you.– Harriet Martineau1 Literary works can illustrate the loneliness and social isolation experienced by people when they are sick.2 The chasm between health…

  • Everyone’s pain

    David Nathaniel YimBaltimore, Maryland, United States During a grueling two-week backpacking trip, I made the conscious commitment to become a physician. I did not realize at the time, but the painfulness of my trek was only beginning. I knew that I had to achieve excellent grades and top test scores. So, I spent years studying…

  • Cloaked in white

    Stacey MaslowFramingham, Massachusetts, United States Darkness envelops me. A sliver of light peeks beneath the door from the world beyond the hospital room. Through the window hilled silhouettes stand silent before a veiled black backdrop. My mind wanders to the image of morning in the town just waking below. Amidst the blackness faint numbers emerge…