Tag Archives: Spring 2023

John Huxham (1694–1768)

John Huxham. Thomas Reynell c. 1756. Via Wikimedia. To be remembered for almost 300 years after practicing medicine in an English provincial town is no mean feat. This is particularly so considering that John Huxham made no significant advances in medicine other than describing the epidemics affecting his hometown and for supposedly introducing the term […]

Matthew Dobson (1735?–1784)

Matthew Dobson. Source Matthew Dobson is remembered mainly for examining in 1775 a thirty-three-year-old man and completing his evaluation by tasting his blood and his urine. He found the serum was opaque, much resembling common cheese whey, but not as sweet as the urine. On heating the urine, he found a residual granulated white cake […]

A tale of two cities

Avi Ohry Tel Aviv, Israel   Henry Dunant. Via Wikimedia.  I wish that when I visited the Abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland years ago, I had also seen the German island of Reichenau and the Swiss village of Heiden 104 km to the south. Both are on Lake Constance, which the Germans call Bodensee […]

Poets at the Craiglockhart War Hospital

JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kindom   Wilfred Owen (left) and Siegfried Sassoon (right; source). In the First World War, the writer Siegfried Sassoon (1886–1967) (Figs 1 and 2) received the Military Cross for bringing back wounded soldiers under heavy fire.1 He was admitted to the Craiglockhart War Hospital, Edinburgh in 1917,2,3 where he befriended […]

The sophia and phronesis of modern medicine

Meaghan O’Connor Durham, North Carolina, United States   The Doctor. Luke Fildes, 1891. Tate Gallery, London. Via Wikimedia.  My first clinical experience was working as a hospice aide my sophomore year of college. During that experience I watched my first patient suffer—physically and spiritually—and eventually die. Not bound by the time constraints of more formal […]

The anorexia of aging

Alexandra Mignucci Albany, New York, United States   “Vegan Meal.” Photo by Marketa, 2013, on Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0. While working at a medical home for patients with Alzheimer’s, I became fascinated by the difference in how much food the patients would eat when sitting at the table as a group versus when I would […]

From Sophocles to the frontline

Alexandra Pliakopanou Ioannina, Greece   Ulysses and Neoptolemus Taking Hercules’ Arrows from Philoctetes. François-Xavier Fabre, 1800, Musée Fabre. Via Wikimedia. In the deserted misty land of Lemnos, a wailing voice echoes, emanating from a wounded warrior abandoned by his comrades nine years ago. Philoctetes, the titular character of Sophocles’ 409 BC play and once a […]

Philip the Handsome and the plague

Nicolas Roberto Robles Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Tomb of Felipe I and Juana La Loca. Photo by Javi Guerra Hernando on Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. Philip of Habsburg was born in Bruges in 1478. He was the son of Maximilian I, the Holy Roman Emperor, and Mary of Burgundy, daughter of Charles the Bold, […]

John Fothergill (1712–1780), eminent physician, reformer, and botanist

John Fothergill. Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1781. Via Wikimedia. Living at a time when physicians had wide interests in science and in particular in botany, John Fothergill collected many species of plants and was particularly interested in their medicinal properties. In 1762 he purchased thirty acres in the East End of London and built a […]

Thomas Beddoes, MD (1760–1808)

Thomas Beddoes. Pencil drawing after E. Bird. Wellcome Collection. Born in Shropshire in 1760 into a modest family, Thomas Beddoes was a precocious child, insatiable for books, and disinclined to participate in games. Through the help of a wise grandfather, he was introduced to a local surgeon who used him as a helper at his […]