Tag Archives: physicians

Syndrome K and the Fatebenefratelli Hospital

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Giovanni Borromeo – Italian doctor – Righteous Among the Nations. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 “Whoever saves one life, it is as if he saved the whole world.” —Talmud (Mishnah Sanhedrin 4:5)1 Italy was an ally of Nazi Germany and was required to enact anti-Semitic laws.2 Beginning in September 1938, […]

The unsung heroes

Julia Angkeow Bel Air, Maryland, United States   Photo by Gert Stockmans on Unsplash The unsung heroes of hospice are the family members and friends who are there to console their loved ones when all others have gone to bed. They are the ones who never rest, constantly brooding over how to best mitigate their […]

Ancient Greek plague and coronavirus

Patrick Bell Belfast, Northern Ireland   Plague in an Ancient City by Michael Sweerts, ca 1650. Credit Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 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 […]

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 […]