Tag Archives: Summer 2013

Abraham Flexner: his life and legacy

M. Saleem Seyal Louisville, Kentucky, USA   O, Abraham Flexner! . . . We have fought with you on minor points, have alternately admired and disliked you, have applauded you for your wisdom and detested you for opinionatedness. But in just retrospect, layman as you are, we hail you as the father . . . […]

In defense of good pimping: the Socratic method

Gregory M Marcus San Francisco, California, USA   Socrates was executed for berating ancient Athenians with questions in order to test their knowledge. I try to keep this in mind when badgering trainees for the same purpose. Of course, questioning to the point of what is maybe best described as “learner discomfort” is no longer […]

The membership examination—then

The examination for membership in the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) is considered to be the British counterpart of the examination for the American Board of Internal Medicine. Its origins, however, are more venerable, being based on a royal charter granted by Henry VIII in 1518. It may also be safely assumed that its format […]

Making medical education interesting and exciting

Anuradha Joshi Gujarat, India Can we make an education system which will retain smiles on the faces of our children?1 Abdul Kalam Image by Anuradha Joshi   At a time when doctors are confronted with a veritable explosion of new facts and information, teachers in medical schools should face up to the challenge of instilling […]

A classic case of vanity

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   In The Citadel, A. J. Cronin’s quintessential medical novel, the hero, Dr. Andrew Manson, still a junior doctor in country practice, is unhappy with his lowly professional status and wonders how he can improve matters. Christine, his devoted wife, urges him to try and obtain a higher medical qualification, perhaps […]

Ronnie’s gifts

Ivan Barry Pless Montreal, Canada Ronnie’s carnation, Cover, Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, February 1978 Vol. 20, No.1   In 1964 I arrived in London to start a two-and-a-half year fellowship in “Social Pediatrics,” as it was called at the time. A few years earlier, Dr. Bob Haggerty—the undisputed leader in this field—had used some […]


Fergus Shanahan Ireland “Nothing happens. Nobody comes, nobody goes. It’s awful.” ― Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot1 Death in the Sickroom, 1895 Edvard Munch Oil on canvas Nasjonalmuseet, Oslo, Norway Waiting. It’s an inescapable part of the human condition, perhaps, but it is a big part of the experience of illness. Being ill is being […]

Doctor’s daughter: reflections on a family’s role in a physician’s practice

Constance E. Putnam Concord, Massachusetts, USA   Schoolyard taunts generally convey an obvious message to all who hear them: “Fatso,” “Four Eyes,” “Slowpoke,” “Dumbo.” One directed at me when I was a child, however, baffled me: “You think you’re so smart, just ’cause your dad’s a doctor!” To be sure, my dad was a doctor, […]

The patient writer: finding meaning in authorship and illness

Ben Murnane Dublin, Ireland   The Two Suitcases Project involves teenagers with chronic illness working with professional filmmakers to create short movies. Storytelling methods include live action, animation, and puppetry. If a person lives with chronic illness, is there “a person” that can be separated from the illness? I suppose many people would say, “Of […]

Théodore Géricault: kleptomania

Portrait of a Kleptomaniac, (c. 1820) Théodore Géricault Oil on panel Museum of Fine Arts, Ghent, Belgium Kleptomania is defined as a recurrent compulsion to steal. Affected persons often act on impulse and are not motivated by economic necessities. They tend not to use the objects they steal but may return them, hide them, or […]