Tag Archives: Spring 2020

All too human: the mountain gorillas of Uganda

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, United States   Fig. 1. Adult female mountain gorilla   The Ugandan mountain gorilla is a member of the Hominidae family, also known as the great Apes. The extant species include: the orangutan, the eastern and western gorilla, the chimpanzee, the bonobo, and ourselves, Homo sapiens. The mountain gorilla is one […]

Ernest Henry Starling and the birth of English Physiology

JMS Pearce  Hull, England   Fig 1. Ernest Starling. Univ. College. Graduate Guy Hospital. 1890. London. (From Images from the History of Medicine (NLM) ). Accessed via Wikimedia Science has only one language, quantity, and only one argument, the experiment -EH Starling   Ernest Henry Starling (1866-1927) (Fig 1) was an outstanding figure in the […]

Reflections on time long gone by

The author of this delightful book, Dr. John Raffensperger, is a retired surgeon who entered medical school in 1949. His book presents a stark contrast between how medicine was practiced then and how it is now. It highlights the many changes, mostly good but some bad, that have taken place in the sixty-five years since […]

Rilke: a poet’s death

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. A portrait of Rilke painted two years after his death by Leonid Pasternak Public domain Rose, oh reiner widerspruch, lust, Niemandes schlaf zu sein under soviel lidern Rose, o pure contradiction, desire, to be no one’s sleep beneath so many lids. Rainer Maria Rilke, epitaph. On December […]

Being our best selves: hidden in full view

James Stoller Peter Rea Alan Kolp Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Figure 1. Pillars and pediment We live in a paradox framed by a tension between age-old wisdom about excellence and our current state. The paradox is this: our behaviors and our priorities are often at odds with age-old truths about how we can be […]

John Francis Hall-Edwards—a radiology pioneer

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, UK   Hall-Edwards (Courtesy of The Library of Birmingham Archives) John Francis Hall-Edwards was born on 19 December 1858 in the Kings Norton area of Birmingham, United Kingdom. He was educated at King Edwards School in Birmingham followed by Queen’s College, Birmingham where he studied medicine and was an apprentice to […]

Good patient, good doctor

Lealani Mae Acosta Nashville, Tennessee, United States   Illustration by Lealani Mae Y. Acosta What makes a “good” patient? What makes a “good” doctor? I am a cognitive behavioral neurologist who specializes in dementia. I relish the longitudinal relationship I have with patients and appreciate hearing them say with pride, “Dr. Acosta is MY doctor.” Being someone’s […]

Ahab’s gift: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and the meaning of pain

Xi Chen Rochester, New York, United States   A whale being speared with harpoons by fishermen in the arctic sea. Engraving by A. M. Fournier after E. Traviès. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) In the summer months before my first year of medical school, I unfurled the pages of Moby Dick. Immersed […]

Belding Scribner and his arteriovenous Teflon shunt

Belding Scribner. Photo by Kay Rodriguez. From University of Washington School of Medicine Online News Archive. Without Belding Scribner maintenance dialysis might have never happened. Although by 1960 the technology of hemodialysis had become quite advanced, and several types of dialyzers, notably the Kolff Twin Coil, had been successfully used, long-term access to the vascular system […]

Tracing wisps of hair

Miriam Rosen Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States   Child’s Play by Miriam Rosen  My mother was diagnosed with cancer when I was fourteen. For the next nine years, she lived her life with elegance and seemed to do it with ease. She continued her psychiatry practice, only gradually reducing the number of patients she saw. She […]