Tag Archives: patients

Notes on a first abortion

Henry Bair  Stanford, California, United States   Mother and Child by the Sea. Johan Christian Dahl. 1830. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. The first time I saw a late-term abortion by dilation and evacuation, I was surprised that it was a fairly minor procedure. I was to observe the termination at twenty-three weeks of […]

Not-so-natural history

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Photo by Anthony Papagiannis Physicians learn about chronic disease by watching its natural history and attempting to modify it with therapies. Cardiologists record episodes of ischemic disease, oncologists follow the progression of malignancies, and pulmonologists note changes in respiratory function over time. When patients are first seen, the disease is […]

Thriving in the face of uncertainty

Sally Mather Chris Millard Ian Sabroe Sheffield, England   The experience of uncertainty has appeared as a frequent narrative in articles, autobiographies, and memoirs written by doctors over the last century. A persistent belief that better training, tests, evidence, and pathways will reduce uncertainty has not been borne out in the experience of contemporary clinicians. […]

Great expectations

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Summer Calm—image by the author “Doctor, I want you to treat her as a forty-year old!” What is the appropriate answer to a demand like that from a daughter about the treatment of her eighty-eight-year-old mother? Any suggestion that her mother might not do well even with the best treatment […]

Heartbreak in the nursery

Shruthi Ravishankar Chennai, India   Image description: Cherry red spot as seen in Tay Sachs disease. The center of the fovea appears bright red because it is surrounded by a milky halo. Photo by Jonathan Trobe, MD. 6 September 2011. Public Domain. Source I began the long drive to the pediatric hospital on a route peppered […]

Dr. Peabody, the ideal medical practitioner

Rachel Bright Kevin Qosja Liam Butchart Stony Brook, New York, United States   Embankment by Rachel Whiteread. Turbine Hall, The Tate Modern, Bankside, London. 12 November 2005. Photo by Fin Fahey. In part inspired by the aftermath of her mother’s death, the white boxes are reminiscent of the many boxes the artist had to pack […]

Washing our hands

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Winter Sunshine, Halkidiki, Greece. Photo by the author Ever since Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, washed his hands before condemning Jesus Christ to death by crucifixion, this simple act of personal sanitation has been used as the figurative icon of a disclaimer, the denial of responsibility. Today, in […]

“A Veritable Angel of Mercy”: the sardonic representation of Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   Group photograph of the first twenty Navy Nurses, appointed in 1908. Naval Photographer. 1908. Wikimedia. Public Domain. Critical acclaim and popular opinion have elevated Kesey’s first novel, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest published in 1962, to something of a modern classic, much read and written about as well as adapted […]

Brief encounters

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Quicksilver in blue. Photo by Anthony Papagiannis. Doctor-patient relationships are as unique as the potential pairs of doctors and patients. At one end of the spectrum there is the one-time encounter, usually for some straightforward and self-limiting problem: the doctor may never see the patient again. At the other extreme, […]

How we love

Linda Clarke Guelph, Ontario, Canada   Photo by James Sullivan The communities of health care and medicine are richly storied. For almost three decades, I have invited people in those communities to tell me their stories and they have been generous in their telling. A story told can be image-laden and many of those images […]