Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Spring 2018

  • The painter and the potter: voices in color and texture

    Florence GeloPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania, United States Drawn to this painting of a vase at the edge of a table, I pause and think, “Don’t we all live on the edges of life, on stratums of the precarious and uncertain?” Jimmy Lueders’ Armand’s Pot II projects from the wall on which it hangs at the Woodmere Art…

  • Haunting poetic characteristics: the dissection scene from Doctor Zhivago

    Timo HannuHelsinki, Finland Doctor Zhivago, a novel by the Russian poet Boris Pasternak, tells the story of physician-poet Yura Zhivago during the turmoil of the first decades of the twentieth century in Russia. The character of Dr. Zhivago is portrayed as follows:1 “Though he was greatly drawn to art and history, he scarcely hesitated over…

  • Aspects of distancing

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Corfu Island, Greece. Author Photo. I will call him Bill. We had been unaware of each other’s existence until we first met as elected members of a professional committee in our local medical association. In this capacity we had been working together for several years, convening every two or three months…

  • George Gordon Lord Byron and his limp

    JMS Pearce   Fig 1. Plaque of Byron erected in Westminster 4/10/2012 Few would dispute that Lord Byron (Fig 1) was both a poetic prodigy and a flamboyant rogue. George Gordon Noel, sixth Baron Byron (1788–1824), was born on 22 January 1788 at Holles Street, London, son of Captain John (“Mad Jack”) Byron and his…

  • The history of diabetes and insulin

    Anabelle S. Slingerland Leiden, Netherlands   Figure 1. The Toronto Daily, the Nobel Laureates on track of diabetes cure The discovery of insulin in 1921 by Banting, Best, Collip, and McLeod was heralded as the cure of diabetes (Figure 1). Press reports consigned earlier research to oblivion, suggesting that previous investigators had merely been groping…

  • “Mental Cases” by Wilfred Owen: The suffering of soldiers in World War I

    Alice MacNeill Oxford, United Kingdom   Wilfred Owen plate from Poems (1920). Internet Archive via Wikimedia. Public domain. Who are these? Why sit they here in twilight? Wherefore rock they, purgatorial shadows, Drooping tongues from jaws that slob their relish, Baring teeth that leer like skulls’ tongues wicked? Stroke on stroke of pain, — but…

  • Consultation

    Edgar Miller Baltimore, Maryland, USA   The author’s grandparents, both physicians, on rounds at Shanta Bhawan Mission Hospital in Nepal around 1960. Rounds In the round The pale orange Cloud-like couches Filled with suits and ties And men Who sit in reserve Awaiting an opening to offer an opinion To rehash the old, Assure the…

  • Upon viewing Félix Vallotton’s La Malade

    Lois Leveen Portland, Oregon, United States   La Malade (1892) by Félix Vallotton The sick girl turns her back to me The maid won’t meet my eye The near-bare walls hold one dim print The chair sits crookedly The medicines are kept bedside The table can expand That’s how we all know what’s unsaid— More medicines…

  • Enough

    Laura Loertscher Portland, Oregon, United States   Photograph of author (Laura Loertscher) and her son. Personal photograph taken by author’s husband, Jesus Moreno, and submitted with his permission. The last food you ever ate was a cup of orange sherbet from the nurses’ station. I saw no reason to make you NPO. After all, you…

  • Consider the nails of the hand, how they grow (William Bean)

    In the days when the Archives of Internal Medicine was one of the greatest general medicals journal in America, William Bean was its famed editor. Born in 1909 in Manila, he had studied at the University of Charlottesville in Virginia, served in World War II, became professor of medicine in Iowa city, and during his…