Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Sherlock Holmes

  • Drs. Joseph Bell, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Osler, and the method of Zadig

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “The whole of medicine is observation.”– William Osler, M.D. M. de Voltaire, the pen name of François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), was an Enlightenment historian, philosopher, and writer. He opposed France’s absolute monarchy and the power of the church. He wrote 2,000 books and pamphlets, was imprisoned twice, and was once exiled to England…

  • Addiction a century ago

    “Addiction, mainly in the upper classes, was viewed with sympathy. It was not a criminal offense to buy or sell morphine. Freud for a time prescribed cocaine to some of his excitable patients, and we know that Sherlock Holmes, when he was bored, injected himself with a 7% solution. Soon after their accession, the tzar…

  • Guaiac and “the old Guaiacum test”

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States “The old Guaiacum test was very clumsy and uncertain.”— A Study in Scarlet, Arthur Conan Doyle, 1887 So declares Mr. Sherlock Holmes in Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel A Study in Scarlet, first published in Beeton’s Christmas Annual 1887, and then as a book in July 1888 published by Ward,…

  • R. Austin Freeman and the Victorian forensic thriller

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece Many people today are acquainted with well-known books and television series of forensic crime fiction. The modern detective fiction writer is expected to provide detailed descriptions of autopsies, current technology, pharmacology, and toxicology. Yet, even in this relatively new version of the old genre of police fiction, there is nothing new under…

  • Rejuvenation: “The Adventure of the Creeping Man” from The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States Ch’ io sono quell gran medicoDottore eanciclpedico,Chiamato Dulcamara,. . . Rigiovnir bramate? I’m noted as a scientist,Practitioner and specialist.I’m Doctor Dulcamara…Would you like your youth recaptured? L’Elisir d’Amore (The Elixir of Love), music by Geatano Donizetti, Libretto by Felice Romano, Act I, scene IV1 “Rejuvenation” through medical science is the…

  • Enlightenment from Sherlock Holmes on COVID-19 associated perilous boredom

    Daniel GelfmanIndianapolis, Indiana, United States Boredom can useful. It can motivate people to do great things. It can also be dangerous by increasing the risk of depression and the risk of participation in unhealthy activities.1 It is an emotional state of weariness through lack of interest that can result in the “pursuit of novel (even negative)…

  • William John Adie (1886–1935)

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. WJ Adie. Source William John Adie (Fig 1) deserves to be remembered as an unusually gifted, compassionate clinician and teacher, but he is best known for his account of the myotonic (Holmes-Adie) pupil. One of many talented Australians who enhanced British medicine, Adie was born in Geelong, west…

  • The most enduring fictional character in literature, Sherlock Holmes, created by a physician

    Marshall LichtmanRochester, New York, United States My colleague and friend, Professor Seymour I. Schwartz, a distinguished surgeon and academician, has chronicled the careers of over 100 physicians who were notable writers in his monograph From Medicine to Manuscript: Doctors with a Literary Legacy.1 These physician-writers ranged from Maimonides to John Locke to John Keats to…

  • Blood on the road

    Anne Marie Appelgren Málaga, Spain “The wounded are dying, searching for blood. Now the blood can move, now the blood can search out the wounded.” – Norman Bethune “Bethune was a man of destiny. He lived and died for blood.” – Hazen Sise On a gray evening in London in the fall of 1936, a…

  • It’s elementary: The addictions of Sherlock Holmes

    Kevin R. LoughlinBoston, Massachusetts, USA One might ask, why write about the addictions of a fictional character? The answer is that there is often a fine line between reality and fiction. The New York Times columnist Bret Stephens recently quoted a survey that found 20% of British teenagers thought that Winston Churchill was a fictional…