Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: pandemic

  • A wrong time to die

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Lockdown in Thessaloniki. Photo by the author. Death is the one absolute and unexceptional certainty in life. In the Bible we read that there is a time for everything, including a time to die [Ecclesiastes 3:2]. Is there ever a “right” time to die? Faced with such a question, we…

  • Lucid interval

    Emma ManuelEshwar RajeshChennai, India Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people like me were silently grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with their family. Born as a single child whose parents got frequent transfers, I had lived with my grandparents to get proper schooling, and then some twenty years passed…

  • Wellbeing

    Sanjana Sundara Raj SreenathEl Paso, Texas, United States This painting portrays the physical and psychological impact of the pandemic. It captures not only the physical isolation due to social distancing but also feelings of loneliness. The cognitive and mental health after-effects can persist long after recovering from Covid-19. With increased feelings of anxiety, isolation, and…

  • Book review: Viruses, Plagues, and History by M. B. A. Oldstone

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The first edition of Viruses, Plagues, and History was published to great acclaim twenty years ago and has now been updated to include the pandemics of the twenty-first century. These include the SARS, MERS, and Zika virus outbreaks, which have now been eclipsed by COVID-19. The early story of the…

  • Giovanni Boccaccio on pandemics past and present

    Constance MarkeyChicago, IL Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) is universally celebrated for his masterpiece The Decameron, an appealing assemblage of one hundred loosely connected novellas, all designed, in part, to distract the fourteenth-century Italian audience from the Black Death plaguing the country. Some of the tales are slapstick misadventures to make the reader laugh, others are more…

  • Jack London’s cloudy crystal ball

    Edward McSweeganKingston, Rhode Island, United States The COVID-19 pandemic has given quarantined readers new opportunities to discover the literature of plagues and epidemics. Many people—in order to give context to the present pandemic—have turned to books like Albert Camus’ classic novel The Plague, Daniel DeFoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, Steven King’s The Stand,…

  • Revisiting the “Trolley Problem” in the COVID-19 pandemic

    Margaret B. MitchellBoston, Massachusetts, United StatesGraham M. Attipoe Nashville, Tennessee, United States The “Trolley Problem” Originally described by Philipa Foot in 1967, the “Trolley Problem” is an ethical dilemma commonly taught in philosophy that challenges participants to explore how far they would go to save lives: A trolley is barreling down a set of tracks towards…

  • Hope quarantined

    Prasad Iyer Singapore   Poet’s statement: This fictional poem expresses the feelings of a migrant separated from his family during the COVID pandemic.   Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash      Quarantine forceth divorced souls  Distanced families and broken wholes  Shards of thoughts, impaling my core  Locked down borders’ hearts a sore  Shallow slumber,…

  • The pandemic: A medical student’s perspective

    Saira Elizabeth AlexHouston, Texas, United States As medical students, we eagerly await the start of clinical rotations since the first day of school; we anticipate building memorable connections with our colleagues and patients. This is an account of my days as a medical student, three months into clinical rotations, during the COVID-19 pandemic. I write…

  • Drawing parallels in pandemic art

    Mariella Scerri Mellieha, MaltaVictor GrechPembroke, Malta “Everybody knows that pestilences have a way of recurring in the world; yet somehow we find it hard to believe in ones that crash down on our heads from a blue sky.”1 Albert Camus, The Plague Experts have long analyzed plans and developed scenarios to respond to an infectious…