Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: stroke

  • Saying goodbye

    Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   “A walk into life’s sunset.” Photo by author. Her head is bald, her face pale. Only a couple of weeks have passed since her latest cycle of chemotherapy, which imposed its ravages but offered no benefit. The disease is marching relentlessly ahead, the survival horizon drawing closer each day. She…

  • Hemiplegic migraine, the monster

    Ceres Alhelí Otero PenicheMexico City, Mexico The authors of great literary works allow their readers to enter into the very precincts of their imaginations, leading them to the most fantastical places they could have ever imagined. Sadly, however, the authors who create these magical works are just as prone to suffer from the same terrible…

  • The beginnings of cell theory: Schleiden, Schwann, and Virchow

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Figure 1. Robert Hooke’s pores (cells) of the cork oak. Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0. Every schoolchild is taught in biology about cells and their elemental importance. Students of biological and medical sciences also learn about the Schwann cell sheath that invests nerve fibers. What is less well known is…

  • Diagnosis: Neurosyphilis. Treatment: Malaria, iatrogenic

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Patient in Kettering hypertherm cabinet undergoing fever therapy. New Orleans, 1937. U.S. Marine Hospital. Works Progress Administration photo. New Orleans Public Library Digital Collections via Wikimedia. Public domain. “The syphilitic man was thinking hard…about how to get his legs to step off the curb and carry him across Washington Street.…

  • Samuel Johnson: “The great convulsionary”

    JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom Samuel Johnson. Portrait by Joshua Reynolds, 1772. Via Wikimedia. Public domain.   This paper reproduces in an abridged form an earlier article by its author1 appraising the evidence that Samuel Johnson suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. Several authors have commented on the many eccentricities of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Fig 1).2…

  • Stitches as mending, stitches as healing

    Kelley SwainOxfordshire, England Knitwear designer and disability-access advocate Kate Davies writes of discovering her love of knitting at university: “The movement of your hands helped you to find a different kind of mind space. You lost yourself in the rhythm of your own industry. You made a thing.”1 There is something extraordinary about taking one…

  • The derailment of Franklin Pierce

    Jacob Appel New York, New York, United States Few subjects have attracted as much attention from medical historians, both well-founded and speculative, as the health of United States presidents. Considerable debate exists over the extent of impairment caused by Lincoln’s bouts of melancholia,1 Grant’s alcoholism,2 Wilson’s stroke,3 and Coolidge’s depression4—to name only those chief executives from…

  • Goals of care

    Leah Grant  Portland, Oregon   Photo by Jake Thacker on Unsplash It was the beginning of my intern year and I felt like an impostor. Facing new responsibilities in both the hospital and clinic, I was aware of my lack of experience when patients asked for my medical opinion. But as I began to see…

  • General Robert E. Lee’s myocardial infarction: Did illness impact the Battle of Gettysburg?

    Lloyd Klein San Francisco, California, United States   Robert E. Lee in March 1864[?]. Photo by Julian Vannerson. Library of Congress. No known restrictions on publication. Ascribing the loss of the Battle of Gettysburg to an illness of General Robert E. Lee became common among historians thirty years ago. The legend of his apparently poor…

  • Intubation incarceration: A true tale of torture

    Abram GabrielPiscataway, New Jersey, United States For five days, I could not speak at all. In November 2010, I had a brainstem stroke resulting from an arteriovenous fistula. I spent nearly a month in a coma in a regional teaching hospital, and seven weeks in an acute rehabilitation center. While my mind is now clear,…