Tag Archives: Personal Narratives

Sanderson’s Thumb and the end of an eponymous era?

Kit Green Sanderson Canada   A thumb exhibiting a positive “Sanderson’s Thumb” sign. Photo by the author. If you are in the medical profession, you have likely heard of the Babinski reflex or McBurney’s point, but have you ever heard of Sanderson’s thumb? No? Let me explain . . . Sleep deprived, overworked, and two […]

The last picture show

Katherine White Rockville, Maryland, United States   Highway 567, junction, near Taos, Taos, New Mexico. Photo by John Margolies. 2003. Public domain through Library of Congress. It was a cold December morning, the second day of the 2018 Hot Topics in Neonatology Conference in Washington, DC. Around 800 people trickled into the vast hotel ballroom, […]

The names of things

Joseph Hodapp Cupertino, California, USA   The author’s grandparents. Photo by Laura Hodapp. It’s a gray-sky, late-October afternoon. I just got home from work when I feel my phone buzz in my pocket. The caller ID provides a brief preface: Mom. “Hey Mom, what’s up?” “Hey Hun, I wanted to call you right away… my […]

The door to recovery

Irene Metzner Glenn Youngkrantz Chicago, Illinois, United States   Stories about addiction are often filled with despair, but they don’t have to be: this is a true story in two parts. The first is the perspective of a patient, and the second that of his doctor, as they chose to be hopeful.   Part I The Two Doorways. James McNeill Whistler. 1879/80. The […]

In full retreat

Cyndy Muscatel Lake Sherwood, California, United States   Advertisement for the “Acousticon”, the first portable electric hearing aid, invented by Miller Reese Hutchison. circa 1902. From page 48 in “Surdus in search of his hearing: an exposure of aural quacks and a guide to genuine treatments and remedies electrical aids, lip-reading and employments for the […]

The story of a scar

Michael Ellman Wilmette, Illinois, United States   Needle and thread stitching up a wound, artwork. By Mary Rouncefield. CC BY-NC The six-inch scar is high over my left femoral artery in my inner thigh. It is healing well now and is pain free. The scar marks the place where a vascular surgeon extracted a clot […]

Dangerous inheritance

Merle Borg San Diego, California, United States   Prehistoric Rock Paintings at Manda Guéli Cave in the Ennedi Mountains – northeastern Chad. Photo by David Stanley. 2015. CC BY 2.0. It was an ordinary accident. Two boys driving to high school had topped a hill too fast, and wedged their small pickup under a stopped […]

The night the troubles erupted in Belfast

Alun Evans Belfast, United Kingdom   John Daniel Alexander Robb, FRCS (1932-2018) Source: Mr. John Robb When I qualified in medicine at the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1968, Northern Ireland was a curious cocktail of sectarianism and garden parties. I soon discovered that winning the medal in surgery was not such a bright idea […]

To all the books that saved my life

Dannie Ong Melbourne, Australia   Ellison H. I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream. New York: Pyramid Publications; 1977. On the way to therapy, I am reading The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris. I try not to think about the irony of it all – no job, no degree, not even a […]

When a medical student becomes a patient

Andrew Gallagher Burlington, Vermont, United States   Student at a Table by Candlelight. Salomon Savery after Rembrandt van Rijn. 1642/65. The Art Institute of Chicago. Elliot pointed to the ultrasound monitor. “What is this?” he said slowly, trailing off. His finger was on the large, black sac occupying the entire bottom of the screen. We […]