Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Solomon Posen

  • The doctor in literature: The abortion and the abortionist

    Solomon PosenSydney, Australia “I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion. But I will keep pure and holy both my life andmy art.”1“It’s an awfully simple operation.”2 The clinical scenario of a physician confronted by a desperate woman begging for a termination of her pregnancy is extremely common in the real…

  • The male nurse in literature

    Solomon PosenSydney, Australia Fictional nurses continue to be predominantly female. In a brilliant essay Fiedler1 makes the point that in literature the terms “Nurse” and “Woman” are almost synonymous. As a result, male nurses, who currently constitute between 6 and 8% of the nursing workforce in the USA,2 Canada3 and Australia4 are considered a paradox…

  • The doctor in bed with the patient

    Solomon PosenSydney, Australia The act of getting into bed with a patient, which would normally be regarded as indecent and highly unprofessional, may be totally free of lecherous implications. Strong’s doctor has been summoned to deliver an elderly primipara, who lives with her crofter husband in an isolated one-roomed cottage on an island off the…

  • The vindictive departmental chairman: a hospital tale of the 1970’s

    Solomon PosenSydney, Australia The main plot in Neil Ravin’s M.D.1 is the ongoing tension at Manhattan Hospital2 between two unevenly matched protagonists: Professor Maxwell Baptist, the Chairman of Medicine and Dr. William Ryan, a somewhat naïve resident who dislikes “kissing ass,” particularly Baptist’s ass. Predictably this attitude annoys the chairman, and Ryan pays the appropriate…

  • Saul Bellow’s Doctor Adler: The achieving medical father and his non-achieving son

    Solomon PosenSydney, Australia “I’ve learned,” old Doctor Adler lectures his oversized, untidy and bankrupt son, “to keep my sympathy for the real ailments” (42). Saul Bellow’s 1956 novella Seize the Day, arguably his finest work, is the story of a prodigal son (Tommy Wilhelm) who returns to his father, craving love as well as financial…