Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Queen Victoria

  • Douglas Argyll Robertson and his pupils

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Argyll Robertson pupil reactions. Diagram by Chainwit. on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. In my student days, the Wasserman reaction (WR), though not specific, was performed almost routinely in patients on medical wards to detect syphilis. Several direct and serological tests of varying sensitivity and specificity have now replaced…

  • Book review: Ethel Gordon Fenwick: Nursing Reformer and the First Registered Nurse

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom With the exception of Florence Nightingale and more recently of Mary Seacole, relatively few biographies have been written about pioneering nurses. Yet there have been many others who made great contributions to their profession and deserve to be remembered. Among these is Ethel Gordon Fenwick, whose biography was recently written…

  • Edward Lear

    JMS PearceHull, England, United Kingdom How pleasant to know Mr Lear!Who has written such volumes of stuff!Some think him ill-tempered and queerBut a few think him pleasant enough. Edward Lear 1879 Hundreds of famous people from every branch of life have been diagnosed or suspected—sometimes on dubious evidence—as sufferers from the symptom epilepsy. Edward Lear…

  • “Troubled in my eyes”: the risks of reading and writing

    Katherine HarveyLondon, England, United Kingdom On January 1, 1660, a young Londoner named Samuel Pepys began to keep a diary. Over the next nine and a half years, he recorded both events of national significance—the Restoration of King Charles II, the Great Plague, and the Great Fire—as well as the minutiae of his private life,…

  • The remarkable Harriet Lane

    Colin K. L. PhoonNew York, New York, United States The name “Harriet Lane” is well-known to many pediatricians, but perhaps fewer recognize this woman’s other roles in US history (Hint: She was not a pediatrician!). In fact, the US presidency, the military, and pediatric medicine are all linked to the name “Harriet Lane.” Who was…

  • Strabismo di Venere—Michelangelo’s David

    Kevin R. LoughlinBoston, Massachusetts, United States It is one of the most recognizable sculptures in Western art, the work of an acclaimed Renaissance artist. For over 600 years, it has been viewed by millions of tourists and by millions more in photographs or books. Yet until recently, an obvious physical abnormality had gone largely unrecognized.…

  • Too many doctors: The death of Friedrich III

    Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain Un médico cura; dos, dudan; tres, muerte segura. One doctor, health; two, doubt; three, certain death. —Spanish saying Friedrich III of Hohenzollern was the second Kaiser of Germany and eighth King of Prussia. After completing his studies, which combined military training and liberal arts, he married Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen…

  • The dream of the uterus

    F. Gonzalez-Crussi Chicago, Illinois, United States More than one-half century ago, it was my duty to examine and describe, day in and day out, the bodily parts that surgeons removed at the hospital where I worked. Surely this peculiar daily routine must have incited the flights of fancy that I took then, and which I recount…

  • Sir Victor Horsley’s fatal blind spot

    Faraze A. NiaziJack E. RiggsMorgantown, West Virginia, United States A belief is not merely an idea the mind possesses; it is an idea that possesses the mind. -Robert Oxton Bolton Sir Victor Horsley is generally regarded as the “Father of Neurosurgery.”1 He may have even been destined for greatness, as it was Queen Victoria herself…

  • Samuel Solly—distinguished surgeon and educator

    Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Samuel Solly. Wood engraving, 1871. Credit: Wellcome Collection. (CC BY 4.0) Samuel Solly was born in St. Mary Axe, London, on May 13, 1805. He attended school in Walthamstow, East London, where his contemporaries included the future British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli.1 In May 1822 he became an apprentice to…