Tag Archives: physicians

In praise of swimming: from Benjamin Franklin to Oliver Sacks

James L. Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Oliver Sacks as a young child with his father. Courtesy of the Oliver Sacks Foundation. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) was not a physician, but many thought he was so-trained and referred to him as “Doctor” Franklin. After accepting an honorary doctorate from the University of St. Andrews in […]

William Osler: clinician and teacher with a pediatric interest

Göran Wettrell Lund, Sweden   Figure 1. Sir William Osler in Oxford, photo presented by Lady Osler. Sir William Osler has been described as one of the greatest physicians of his time, especially known for his bedside medicine and teaching (Figure 1). He has also been characterized as “a pediatric-minded worker within the widespread wine-yard […]

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 […]

Shostakovich, shrapnel, and chronic poliomyelitis

Michael Yafi Houston Texas, United States   Illustration by Elena Toponogova Pianist, London, U.K The life of Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) has fascinated artists, musicologists, and physicians who have tried to make a connection between his medical history and musical repertoire. Having once said, “When I hear about someone else’s pain, I feel pain too,” Shostakovich […]

The pandemic: a medical student’s perspective

Saira Elizabeth Alex Houston, Texas, United States   The Isle of the Dead. Max Klinger after Arnold Böcklin. 1890. The Art Institute of Chicago. 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 […]

The bedside manners of Ingmar Bergman’s celluloid physicians

Eelco Wijdicks Rochester, Minnesota, United States   Bergman directing the two psychiatrists in Face to Face (1976)—Courtesy, Everett Collection  The great humanitarian filmmaker and auteur Ingmar Bergman used physicians in his films much more frequently than his peers. Bergman’s full filmography, including two films (Thirst and Brink of Life) directed by but not written by Bergman, […]

The Plague and physician burnout

Geoffrey Rubin Mark Abrams D. Edmund Anstey New York, New York, United States   [Bedside scenes: Doctors visit patient]. 1534. The National Library of Medicine. In Albert Camus’ novel The Plague,1 Doctor Rieux is a consummate physician, a hero and a “true healer.” His main charge is to compassionately perform his duty—a matter, in his […]

Ernest Henry Starling and the birth of English Physiology

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Fig 1. Ernest Starling. Univ. College. Graduate Guy Hospital. 1890. London. (From Images from the History of Medicine (NLM) ). Accessed via Wikimedia Science has only one language, quantity, and only one argument, the experiment -EH Starling   Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) (Fig 1) was an outstanding figure in the […]

Hippocrates, abortion, and cutting for stone

John Raffensperger Fort Meyers, Florida, United States   Two methods of lithotomic position recommended by Sushruta. From Mukhopadhyaya G. The surgical instruments of the Hindus. (vol 2) Calcutta University Press 1914 pp 79 – 80 [public domain] Physicians who take The Oath of Hippocrates swear not to perform abortions or operate for bladder stones: Similarly, […]

Certifying clinical competence: principles from the caliphate of al-Muqtadir

Faraze Niazi Jack Riggs Morgantown, West Virginia, United States   Dinar of al-Muqtadir. Dated 910/911. Credit: Classical Numismatic Group, Inc. CC BY-SA 2.5 “The devil is always in the details.” “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.” –Two Old Wise Sayings   Certifying clinical competence has virtually universal support. After all, […]