Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Spring 2024

  • Dying young: Bob Marley (1945–1981)

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “In the community of living tissues, the uncontrolled mob of misfits that is cancer behaves like a gang of perpetually wilding adolescents. They are the juvenile delinquents of cellular society.”– Sherwin Nuland, MD, How We Die Bob Marley (1945–1981) was a Jamaican singer, songwriter, musician, and the son of a Jamaican mother…

  • Renal reminiscences

    Medical conferences are an opportunity to travel and to meet. During the early days when renal transplantation, dialysis, and biopsy revolutionized nephrology, I had the opportunity to meet many members of the new discipline. I once listened to Jean Hamburger lecture about kidney transplants. I heard Robert Schrier lecture on salt and water. One summer…

  • Passing sentence 

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece  The man facing me across the desk is outwardly calm. He gives an innocent enough history of a vague pain in his back which eventually led his family physician to send him for a chest film. Something did not look right, and a computed lung scan followed. This was the reason for…

  • Exploring capacity, consent, and confinement: A humanities-based approach

    Deema al YousufKathryn CobainShagun MisraDavid JeffreyWorcester, United Kingdom Background The UK’s Mental Capacity Act (2005) stresses the importance of patient involvement in the process of informed consent through shared decision-making.1 A workshop was held for forty-one first-year graduate medical students to raise their awareness of this Act. To stimulate their interest, an extract of Clive…

  • Mileva Maric-Einstein

    Mirjana Stojković-IvkovićBelgrade, Serbia Mileva Marić was the first wife of Albert Einstein. Although she worked with him for many years, her overall contribution to his success has never been clearly determined. She was born in Serbia in 1875 and had one leg shorter than the other, which caused her to limp. She had a brilliant…

  • The history of the C-section

    Julius BonelloAjoke IrominiPeoria, Illinois, United States A procedure that removes a live fetus through an abdominal incision in a pregnant woman is known as a Cesarean section or C-section. Its original intention was to remove a dead baby from a dying or dead mother. Therefore, Julius Caesar (100–44 BC) was not delivered by Cesarean Section…

  • Holden Caulfield’s coughing conundrum: A medical perspective

    Anthony GulottaBethesda, Maryland, United States J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye, captivates readers with the story of Holden Caulfield, a disillusioned teenager. Was Holden’s constant coughing due to pulmonary tuberculosis (TB), as he claims, or some other illness? His own words paint a bleak picture. He mentions being “dead tired,” harboring a…

  • Managing loss and emotional turmoil through poetry

    Maria ShopovaDublin, Ireland Loss is a universal human experience that spans borders and cultures. Patients, facing death, may struggle with existential questions and anxiety due to the loss of health. Families bear the agony of watching a loved one deteriorate and die, and then enter a period of grieving. And medical professionals, who are not…

  • Ship fever: A malignant disease of a most dangerous kind?

    Richard de GrijsSydney, Australia During the Age of Sail, “road,” “workhouse,” “hospital,” “army,” “camp,” “emigrant,” “jail”/“gaol,” and “ship” were routine noun adjuncts pertaining to the deadly fevers frequently occurring in overcrowded spaces in cold weather. Although “fever” diagnoses were common, most such instances in ships’ surgeons’ journals related to typhus or typhoid fevers—until 1869, they…

  • Book review: Saving Freud: The Rescuers Who Brought Him to Freedom

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “A nation that produced Goethe could not possibly go to the bad.”– Sigmund Freud, 1930 In March 1938, Austria became part of the Greater German Reich. Nazi antisemitism and the exclusion of Jews from society began at once. Dr. Sigmund Freud (1856–1939), the creator of psychoanalysis, could no longer deny what was…