Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Summer 2009

  • Maximum security kindness or the public health nurse accrues her CEU’s

    Geraldine Gorman Chicago, Illinois, United States   When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. Abraham Joshua Heschel As she leaned into the doorway of my room, I explained the quandary to my daughter, Grace. “I don’t know what to do,” I said, “I am supposed…

  • To Nurse – Hospital Halls – Breath – and more

    Carol Battaglia Chicago, Illinois   To nurse Hospital halls To Care To Solace To Touch To Feel To Hurt To Need To Heal, others as well as ourselves. I have walked these hospital halls for many years now. Thousands of steps, thousands of words, it’s no wonder I’m tired. Talked out. The emotions of others…

  • Tuberculosis—A journey across time

    Mindy Schwartz Introduction Few diseases have captured the imagination more than tuberculosis (TB). Tuberculosis fascinates many people – scientists and epidemiologists, artists and humanitarians, sociologists and physicians. It is as much the stuff of art and song as a merciless killer of the young and old. Even its name conjures the image of the waif…

  • High drama in the scullery

    George DuneaChicago, IL This dramatic incident must have taken place around 1930, at a time when great controversy raged about the level at which a life-saving tracheotomy should be done. It is an extract from “High Tracheotomy Low Tracheostomy,” a lecture as given by Sir Clive Fitts at the Royal College of Physicians of London…

  • A window on iatrogenesis

    Norm LieskaChicago, Illinois, United States The medical school journey is a roadway lined with many mileposts. These appear suddenly and pass quickly—in laboratories, lecture halls, clinics, and patient rooms. Often the travelers are not even aware that they have passed a milepost in the fogs of their arduous journey. We who attempt to help these…

  • My first (do no harm) patient

    Paul KaragiannisChicago, Illinois, United States The door to room 7403 was opened slightly, and a TV inside hummed the midday news—nervous but resolute, we knocked and crossed the threshold. Inside, sitting knees-up in bed, his height accentuating the awkward angularity of his position, sat Mr. C., Bed No. 2, United States Veteran, my first patient…

  • The vaudeville revue

    Terry WahlsIowa, United States My partner, Jackie, asks Grandma if she would like to come with her to watch the dress rehearsal for the Vaudeville Revue. Since my children, Zach and Zebby, were toddlers we have called my mom “Grandma.” I thought it was less confusing to my kids to have me use the term…

  • Learning compassion – learning forgiveness

    Larry ZaroffCalifornia, United States I once made a technical error that injured a patient. An error of commission. Distressed, I wrote to several cardiac surgeons with whom I was acquainted through training or practice. I asked if they had made similar mistakes and how they were dealing with their mistakes. Were they embarrassed, ashamed? Did…

  • Color, image and symbol: memory recalling the 1990 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait through drawings

    Yvonne Pepin-Wakefield Introduction In 2004 I was hired by Kuwait University to teach at its College for Women in the Middle East state of Kuwait. In addition to teaching studio arts, I grappled with the idea of how a shared traumatic event might affect the development of Kuwaiti youth who had experienced the invasion as…

  • Tense

    Lawren VandeVrede Chicago, Illinois,  United States I stand in a room where over half of the people are dead. Students stand like vultures over corpses barely identifiable as human. Lieska stalks like a reaper between the tables culling fascia and fat. But death is not present in the room. Death has come and done his grisly…