Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Spring 2017

  • The morbid poet: Gottfried Benn, the morgue and the mysterious postcard

    Annette TuffsHeidelberg, Germany “Worst of all: not to die in summer, when everything is bright and the earth is easy on the spade.” So wrote the German poet Gottfried Benn (1886–1956), three years before his death, in the poem “What’s Bad”.1 But if the wrong timing of one’s death is the very worst thing, what…

  • Fog

    Nicholas Feinberg New York City, New York, United States   London in the Fog by Lesser Ury Outside their window, the sky is dark and the streets are empty. Fog slides off the lake and turns the pavement slick and black. The wet air is a blanket that quiets the city. Silence fills the space…

  • Which weighs upon the heart

    Murad KhanKarachi, Pakistan I seldom see patients without an appointment, which for an initial patient can take up to an hour, often longer. Fortunately for this couple, the booked patient rang in to say he could not come because of some transport problem, so I was able to see them. “Doctor saheb- we have come…

  • At the turning point

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece Eva was born the year I entered medical school; our life paths would cross two decades later. She went through school, played volleyball regularly, married, and lived a normal and carefree life. Then in her early twenties she gradually began getting breathless and increasingly tired, and had dizzy spells, fainting episodes, palpitations,…

  • The divine leaf: physick and the cause for physick

    Lynn Veach Sadler Burlington, NC, United States   The photograph is of John White’s 1585 watercolor of a Secotan mother and child now in the British Library. Columbus is believed to have rebuked his crew for sharing the Indians’ “drinking” of the smoke of tobacco through toboca/tobaga pipes and chewing its dried leaves. He was among…

  • Charite hospital

    Annabelle Slingerland Leiden, the Netherlands   On November 14, 1709, King Frederik I of Prussia planted a small seed that over the following three centuries grew, branch by branch, into one of the foremost medical research and treatment centers in the world.   Plague House, 1709 The Plague, later Almshouse, Matthäus Seutter (1678-1757), circa 1740…

  • The flu vaccine: Transparency, uncertainty, and trust in medicine

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece A few years ago the fear of ‘pandemic flu’ was spread widely all over the world, causing what has been termed an “emotional epidemic.”1 The disease itself, its social dimensions, and the ways it was publicly handled could form the subject for an academic thesis. Those events led me to a series of…

  • The girl on the gurney

    Diana Pi Westlake, Ohio, United States   Scene in the New York morgue. (Public Domain) A month before my gig as senior medical resident at Bellevue Hospital was up, I spent a morning in the New York City morgue. Why? I lost a patient. A young man with end-stage AIDS, a prisoner from Rikers Island.…

  • Outsourced clinical trials and ethical implications: India the most preferred global clinical trial hub

    Persis NaumannPittsburg, Pennsylvania Introduction Pharmaceutical research is a complex social enterprise. With the proliferation of corporate globalization in the healthcare industry, pharmaceutical companies from western developed countries have increasingly offshored and outsourced global biopharmaceutical clinical trials to developing countries. The power of global pharmaceutical industries is extensive. It is important to understand the structure of…

  • Beyond medicine

    Jessica Tang Chicago, Illinois, United States   Surgeons in action I remember staring intently at the doctor as he presented two options: surgery or do nothing. Surgery could not promise drastic improvement and even came with the risk of paralysis or death. Doing nothing meant an ominous future of moving onward until something traumatic occurred.…