Tag Archives: 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 Peniche Mexico City, Mexico   Mary Shelley by Richard Rothwell. Oil on canvas, c. 1831–1840. National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG 1235. CC BY-NC-ND 3.0. 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 […]

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 Swain Oxfordshire, England   “Plague Dress” by Anna Dumitriu, installation view at 6th Guangzhou Triennial at Guangdong Museum of Art. Published with permission. 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. […]

The derailment of Franklin Pierce

Jacob Appel  New York, New York, United States   Pres. Franklin Pierce. neg. from original ink by Brady. [between 1855 and 1865]. Part of Brady-Handy photograph collection. Library of Congress Online Catalog. Few subjects have attracted as much attention from medical historians, both well-founded and speculative, as the health of United States presidents. Considerable debate […]

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 Gabriel Piscataway, New Jersey, United States   The Custody of a Prisoner Does Not Call for Torture (La seguridad de un reo no exige tormento). Goya (Francisco de Goya y Lucientes). ca. 1815; published ca. 1859. Metropolitan Museum of Art. For five days, I could not speak at all. In November 2010, I had […]