Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Quarantine

  • Ship fever: A malignant disease of a most dangerous kind?

    Richard de GrijsSydney, Australia During the Age of Sail, “road,” “workhouse,” “hospital,” “army,” “camp,” “emigrant,” “jail”/“gaol,” and “ship” were routine noun adjuncts pertaining to the deadly fevers frequently occurring in overcrowded spaces in cold weather. Although “fever” diagnoses were common, most such instances in ships’ surgeons’ journals related to typhus or typhoid fevers—until 1869, they…

  • The history of quarantine and contact tracing as surveillance strategies

    Mariella Scerri Victor Grech Malta   A view of the city of Malta, on the side of the Lazaretto or pest-house, where ships perform quarantine, by Joseph Goupy, around 1740-1760. Public Domain. Source. Quarantine, from the Italian quaranta, meaning forty, is a centuries-old public health measure instituted to control the spread of infectious diseases by…

  • Lucid interval

    Emma ManuelEshwar RajeshChennai, India Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people like me were silently grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with their family. Born as a single child whose parents got frequent transfers, I had lived with my grandparents to get proper schooling, and then some twenty years passed…

  • Hope quarantined

    Prasad Iyer Singapore   Poet’s statement: This fictional poem expresses the feelings of a migrant separated from his family during the COVID pandemic.   Photo by Logan Fisher on Unsplash      Quarantine forceth divorced souls  Distanced families and broken wholes  Shards of thoughts, impaling my core  Locked down borders’ hearts a sore  Shallow slumber,…

  • Locked down!

    P. Ravi Shankar Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia   Art by Devika Allath, Year 8, Willoughby Girls High School, Sydney, Australia, 13-year-old niece of the author. The sun was about to rise on another day of lockdown. At the beginning of a new day there is a vague sense of optimism, but that is followed by an…

  • Dr. Samuel Sarphati

    Annabelle SlingerlandLeiden, the Netherlands Times of confusion and uncertainty can also be fruitful grounds for seeds to root, rise, and bloom. One such seed was Dr. Samuel Sarphati, who created New Amsterdam on the banks of the river Amstel. Amsterdam in the early nineteenth century was already renowned for its prosperous canal belts, streets lit…

  • 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…

  • Sidelined

    Katherine WhiteRockville, Maryland, United States From the safety of my home, I watch the unfolding of the slow-motion car wreck that is the COVID-19 pandemic. Retired from the practice of neonatal medicine for over eight years, my medical license has been inactive for half that time. In my state of Maryland, the web page for…

  • A plastic surgeon’s weeks in lockdown

    Neha ChauhanBangalore, Karnataka, India As I tuned in to the announcement on March 24th, 2020 that India would be completely locked down for next three weeks to flatten the curve of coronavirus spread, my heart skipped a beat and then almost sank. I spent a sleepless night trying to understand my reaction of experiencing a…

  • Plagues and prejudice

    Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Honolulu Chinatown fire of 1900. Hawaii State Archives.  It was a calm, clear January morning on the gritty streets of paradise. Honolulu, the capital of the newly-annexed U.S. territory of Hawaii, was ushering out a century of upheaval that had included the arrival of explorers,…