Tag Archives: pneumonia

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 […]

Navigating the waters of post-COVID survivorship

Denise Bockwoldt Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photo by Josh Sorenson on Unsplash. On the TV news, COVID survivors are being rolled out of the hospital in wheelchairs, applauded and cheered on by a crowd of hospital staff. “They’ve recovered!” the reporter announces happily. It is a hopeful sign for everyone who fears this virus, […]

How a small town kept smallpox small

Annabelle Slingerland Leiden, the Netherlands   Fig. 1 Presentation of smallpox. To make a mountain out of a molehill is a vice, but to keep the mole underground is a virtue. The little town of Tilburg in the south of the Netherlands was not accustomed to seeing mountains, but when a molehill first came into […]

How we love

Linda Clarke Guelph, ON, 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 […]

The talk

Akshay Khatri Valhalla, New York, USA   Photo from Pixabay I walked into the emergency department with a sense of trepidation. The patient I was evaluating was Mrs. G, a woman whom I had cared for in the hospital a few months earlier. Now she was back from the nursing home with more shortness of […]

A picture of ill-health: the illness of Elizabeth Siddal

Emily Boyle Dublin, Ireland   Fig. 1 Ophelia, Sir John Everett Millais 1851-2, Tate Britain, London It is difficult to think of Ophelia, one of Shakespeare’s most famous characters, without bringing to mind the famous depiction of her by John Everett Millais. In Hamlet, the sensitive and fragile Ophelia is driven mad by grief after […]

William Gorgas – Life and medical legacy

 Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, USA Portrait of William C. Gorgas. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY Library, London. Wellcome Images The Panama Canal Zone in the early 1900s was described as “one of the must unhealthful places in the world.”1 Ridden with mosquitoes, the Isthmus of Panama was a hotbed of yellow fever, malaria, and pneumonia. […]

Percussion of the chest: Leopold Auenbrugger

Percussion for examination of the chest was first described in 1754 in a little book written in Latin as “a new discovery that enables the physician from the percussion of the human thorax to detect the diseases hidden within the chest.” At publication the book was ignored and percussion received little attention until popularized decades […]

Snakes and ladders

Shampa Sinha Sydney, Australia   Life in the ICU is like a game of Snakes and Ladders. Illustration by Dr. Tirthankar Dutta “Can you tell me where you are, Mr. Pemberton?” I would ask the middle-aged man every morning as he was recovering from abdominal surgery. “Oh, I’m in New York,” he would answer with […]