Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: pandemic

  • Book review: Pathogenesis: How Germs Made History

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK I do not use superlatives lightly, but this is an extraordinary book. It is ambitious in scope and seeks to describe the progress of humanity from earliest times with an emphasis on the role of infectious diseases in our cultural, economic, political, and scientific development. Drawing from disciplines as diverse as…

  • Book review: Pandemic Obsession: How They Feature in our Popular Culture

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK Following the worldwide COVID pandemic, there has been a plethora of books published on the theme of epidemics and pandemics. Readers may be forgiven if they feel they are now suffering from literary pandemic fatigue. However, this interesting new book sets out to describe how pandemics have influenced literary writing throughout…

  • Book review: How the NHS Coped with COVID-19

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom This work is a timely and important contribution to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc worldwide. Following the cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, things would never be the same again. In this book, the author has…

  • Gain of function

    Jayant Radhakrishnan Darien, Illinois, United States   “It is no good to try to stop knowledge from going forward. Ignorance is never better than knowledge.” – Enrico Fermi (1901–1954)   SARS-CoV-2 virus anatomy with proteins labeled. Created by Maya Peters Kostman for the Innovative Genomics Institute. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. “Gain of Function” (GoF) burst into…

  • A poet for a patient: A tenth century poem by al Mutanabbi

    Sama Alreddawi Barry Meisenberg Annapolis, Maryland, United States   “The Night Visitor”1 …عَليـلُ الجِسـمِ مُمتَنِـعُ القِـيـامِ شَديدُ السُكرِ مِـن غَيـرِ المُـدامِ …وزَائِرَتـي كَـأَنَّ بِهـا حَـيـاءً فَلَيـسَ تَـزورُ إِلّا فـي الظَـلامِ بَذَلتُ لَها المَطـارِفَ وَالحَشايـا… فَعافَتهـا وَباتَـت فـي عِظامـي يَضيقُ الجِلدُ عَن نَفسـي وَعَنهـا… فَتوسِـعُـهُ بِـأَنـواعِ السِـقـامِ …إِذا مـا فارَقَتـنـي غَسَّلَتـنـي كَأَنّـا عاكِفـانِ عَلـى حَــرامِ كَأَنَّ…

  • Happy hypoxia

    Khyati Gupta Mumbai, India Scots Mission Hospital, Tiberias (Torrance). Hospital beds. Photo. Matson Collection, c. 1934-39. Library of Congress. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   Poet’s statement: Happy hypoxia is a poem I wrote while trying to capture the thoughts of a patient in solitude infected with coronavirus amidst the second wave of the pandemic.  …

  • The Call of the Wild and COVID-19

    Liam ButchartStony Brook, New York, United StatesSamantha RizzoWashington DC, United States The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought a terrible toll upon all of us and has brought the medical system—and the providers who inhabit it—to its knees. There is a tradition in medicine, following Sir William Osler’s “Aequinimitas,” of compassionate detachment: as physicians or trainees, we…

  • COVID-19 and 1665: Learning from Daniel Defoe

    Brian BirchSouthampton, Hampshire, UK Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year is an account of the 1665 Great Plague of London. Based on eyewitness experience, the undersigned initials “H. F.” suggest the author’s uncle, Henry Foe, as its primary source. Published in 1722, it stands as the most reliable and comprehensive account of the…

  • Ancient Greek plague and coronavirus

    Patrick BellBelfast, Northern Ireland Introduction Homer’s Iliad, Sophocles’ Oedipus the King, and Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War have been termed “the three earliest, and arguably most influential, representations of the plague in Western narrative.”1 This essay uses these historical sources to examine attitudes toward plague in ancient Greece and parallels in the modern response…

  • 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…