Tag Archives: Spring 2021

Remembering Sir Thomas Lewis’ contribution to understanding heart failure

Daniel Gelfman Indianapolis, Indiana, United States   Figure 1: British Medical Journal, 1930 a Sir Thomas Lewis (1881-1945) has been called one of the “fathers of modern cardiology” due to his many significant contributions to that discipline. In 1930 he wrote a landmark paper clarifying the disease “congestive (heart) failure,” revealing clues that are present […]

Moral judgment in medicine: “sensibility of heart”

Jack Coulehan Stony Brook, New York, United States   Clinicians in Intensive Care Unit. 2011. Photo by Calleamanecer. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 I want to reflect on the role of emotions, or “sensibility of heart,” in medical judgment. I take the term “judgment,” in general, to refer to the human capacity of assessing, analyzing, […]

Dr. William Minor and the Oxford English Dictionary

JMS Pearce  Hull, England, UK   Fig 1. Johnson’s Dictionary [photo: author’s copy] After the first dictionary of English words (Robert Cawdrey’s A Table Alphabetical… 1604) many dictionaries aimed to provide typical spelling, meaning, and often pronunciation, etymology, synonyms, and quotations. A New English Dictionary was an important advance reflecting everyday language compiled by the […]

Pain management

Andrew Yim Hamden, Connecticut   Clear glass bottle containing ‘Papine’ brand liquid (opium and morphine hydrochloride). Science Museum Group Collection. CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Once a month, Ada tells me about her pain and then I write a script for oxycodone. When Ada tires of my Spanish or I of her English, we use a phone […]

Seeking medicalization: chronic illness without diagnosed disease

Camille Kroll Chicago, Illinois, United States   Surgical scars and the expansion of narrative possibilities. By Camille Kroll. I was wheeled into the bright lights of the operating room with the symptom-based diagnoses of chronic pelvic pain and irritable bowel syndrome. When I groggily emerged several hours later, I had a new label: someone with […]

A return to The Plague

Bonnie Salomon Chicago, Illinois, United States   Cover of 1991 edition of The Plague by Albert Camus. For the past fifteen months, I have been reading and returning to Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague. Chronicling a fictional plague epidemic in Oran, Algeria, the narrator Dr. Rieux tells the saga of a city’s horrific struggle. […]

A bad taste in the mouth: over fifty years of doubt about MSG

Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States   A Chinese Food Storefront in New York, NY. Photo by Jkusachi. June 2019. Via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Monosodium glutamate’s bad reputation started with one letter to the New England Journal of Medicine. From there, the truth was confused by misinformation and prejudice. Dr. Robert Ho Man Kwok […]

Diane de Poitiers, a case of mammary narcissism

A Lady in Her Bath, by Francois Clouet, 1571. National Gallery of Art, Washington. The woman in partial undress shown by Francois Clouet as A Lady in Her Bath is believed to be the famous mistress of the French King Henry II, Diane de Poitiers.1 Born in 1499 in the château of St. Vallier on […]

Morris Fishbein, MD—foe of four-flushers, flimflammers, and fakes

Laura King Atlanta, Georgia, United States     Morris Fishbein. Harris & Ewing, photographer. [ca. 1938]. Via Library of Congress  Born in St. Louis, Missouri, on July 22, 1889, and raised in Indianapolis, Morris Fishbein emerged from his humble origins as the second eldest of eight children born to a Jewish immigrant tin peddler (Benjamin […]

Viktor Frankl: the meaning of a life

Anne Jacobson Oak Park, Illinois, United States   Figure 1. Viktor Frankl, 1965. Creative Commons. Not long before the Dachau concentration camp was liberated in April 1945, Viktor Emil Frankl was seriously ill with typhus and writing feverishly on stolen scraps of paper, determined to keep himself and his ideas alive. Faced with the prospect […]