Tag Archives: Shakespeare

Janus

Dahlia Mukherjee Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States   Janus. Original work by Dahlia Mukherjee I was walking back home from school with my friend. It was a typical gloomy English day with the grey clouds swirling menacingly on top of us threatening rain. We were excitedly talking about my friend’s birthday party next Saturday in her backyard. […]

Medical and literary coupling

Stephen Finn South Africa   (To be read aloud, with gusto and with a strong beat) Collage created by Hektoen staff. Images from left to right. Top row: Portrait of Rabelais, circa 1820. By Louis-François Durrans. From the Rabelais Museum, via Wikimedia; Anton Chekhov, via Wikimedia. Center: Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Bottom […]

St. Audrey Etheldrida

JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK   Medicine is full of strange tales, some with unforeseen ramifications. I recently discovered that the origins of the useful word “tawdry” surprisingly lay in a tumor of the throat—nature unspecified—of a seventh-century saint. St. Audrey, Etheldrida, or Æþelðryþ, born c. 636 AD, was an English princess generally referred to […]

Hector Berlioz: from medical school to music conservatory

Michael Yafi Houston, Texas, United States   Portrait of Hector Berlioz. Gustave Courbet. 1850. Musée d’Orsay. Via Wikimedia Louis-Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) was born in La Côte-Saint-André, France. His father was a well-known physician in his hometown in the French Alps and wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. At the age of eighteen, Hector […]

Pursuing ‘Conclusions Infinite:’ the divine inspiration of Georg Cantor

Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Georg Cantor, German mathematician, 1845-1918. Cantor as an older man, date unknown. Cantor was not quite age 73 when he died of heart failure. Photo Credit: Colport/Alamy Stock Photo. Used with permission. There is a “fine line between brilliance and madness”: the distinction, for example, between […]

C. Miller Fisher: Stroke in the twentieth century

Arpan Banerjee Solihull, UK   Stroke, in spite of its serious and widespread impact, had long received little interest from physicians. C. Miller Fisher, one of the twentieth century’s outstanding neurologists and researchers, revolutionized the management of stroke. In this well-researched and readable biography, Louis Caplan, a distinguished Harvard neurologist and former trainee of Miller […]

Wet nursing: a historical perspective

Mariella Scerri Mellieha, Malta   A Russian wet nurse, c. 1913. Painted by Frederic de Haenen public domain via Wikimedia. Wet nursing, a form of breastfeeding provided by someone other than an infant’s biological mother,1 has a long and sometimes controversial history. Death in childbirth, a mother’s illness, as well as cultural habits and circumstance […]

Syndrome de Lasthénie de Ferjol

Krishna G. Badami Christchurch, New Zealand   Figure 1. ‘Une Histoire sans nom’ by Jules Amedee Barbey d’Aurevilly. Source Several years ago we saw a young woman who had an iron deficiency anemia, caused not by blood loss from menstruation (a common cause of iron deficiency anemia in females), but by repeatedly drawing her own blood by venipuncture and discarding it. […]

Bad blood: the drama of bloodshed

Emily Boyle Dublin, Ireland   Lucia’s mad scene – Rachelle Durkin as Lucia during The Chautauqua Opera’s dress rehearsal for Lucia di Lammermoor. Photo by Michelle Kanaar In some professions, bloodstained clothing is a normal part of the job. The two jobs that come to mind principally are a butcher and a vascular surgeon, although […]

Did Macbeth have syphilis?

Eleanor J. Molloy Dublin, Ireland   Gerard De Lairesse suffered from congenital syphilis. Image: Portrait of Gerard de Lairesse. Rembrandt van Rijn. 1665–67. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Public Domain. Introduction Syphilis was endemic in Elizabethan England and it was estimated that nearly 20% of the population of London were infected.1 The signs and symptoms […]