Tag Archives: Summer 2013

One woman’s journey for a tuberculosis cure

Terri Sinnott Chicago, Illinois, USA   Edmund and Theresa Brouillette c. 1900, Sinnott Family Collection “By 1900 . . . one-third of the new-comers to Colorado had come in search of health benefits.”1 My great-grandmother Theresa Brouillette became the “one in three” on October 31, 1902 when she boarded the train in Vincennes, Indiana to […]

The real Monte Cristo

Général Alexandre Dumas, XIXesiècle Olivier Pichat Musée Alexandre Dumas, Villers-Cotterëts The father of Alexandre Dumas (Père), famous author of The Count of Monte Cristo and of The Three Musketeers, was the son of a French nobleman and a black Caribbean slave. During the turmoil of the French Revolution, Alex Dumas, for that was the name […]

Hubris syndrome – a moment in history?

Lord David Owen has written extensively about politicians and heads of state who became insufferable from being intoxicated by the power of their office. He called this aberration from gentlemanly behavior the hubris syndrome, an acquired personality disorder that most often went away after they left office. Hubris has come down to us from the […]

The mystical prophet and his Bride of Christ

Hansjörg Rothe Austria and Klinikum Coburg, Germany   Sabbatai Zvi (1626-1676), as sketched in 1666 by an eye witness.  From Thomas Coenen, “Ydele Verwachtinge der Joden…” Amsterdam, 1669. In 1648, the year when the exhausted European powers at last ended the Thirty Years’ War, the Orthodox Ukrainian peasants rose against their Catholic Polish overlords and […]

Madness at the Opera

  Joan Sutherland in Lucia di Lammermoor It is ironic and tragic that Gaetano Donizetti, author of the most famous mad scenes in the history of opera, should himself have died in a state of utter madness from what has been described “as the most terrible of all brain diseases”.1 In two of his operas, […]

John Wesley: amateur physician and health crusader

Paul Dakin London, United Kingdom   Portrait of John Wesley John Wesley was an 18th century Anglican priest, Fellow of Lincoln College and Oxford don, with an intellect and energy that resulted in over 400 publications and the riding of a quarter of a million miles to preach forty thousand sermons.1 The movement he reluctantly […]

Mark Hanna’s knees and the Panama Canal

Michael Ellman Chicago, Illinois, USA   Aficionados of the history of the Panama Canal know that at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Nicaragua was to be the site for the “American” inter-oceanic canal. A Nicaraguan canal would be hundreds of miles closer to ports in the Gulf […]

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?: Erzsébet Báthory and the curative power of blood in medieval Europe

Joanna Smolenski New York, United States If the body is seen either as enclosed and filled with blood, or as vulnerable and bleeding, then blood can also only be interpreted either as life (when it fills the intact body) or as death (when it has left the body). (Bildhauer 2006: 5) In medieval Europe, blood […]

Medical education in medieval Islam

Sara Ali Gainsville, Florida, USA   Al-Adudi Hospital, Baghdad, 9th century The period between the 5th to the 15th century, known in Europe as the Dark Ages, was characterized in the Middle East and the Arab world by the rise of great civilizations. It was built by people of differing religions and ethnicities, Muslims and […]

The benefit of literature to a medical student

Martin Conwill United Kingdom   In a letter to Benjamin Bailey in 1817, John Keats, who only one year prior was a medical student himself, wrote: “I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of imagination – what the imagination sees as beauty must be truth.”1 This proclamation […]