Tag Archives: Summer 2021

Red Beard: a master clinician in nineteenth century Japan

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   A Meeting of Japan, China, and the West, late 18th – early 19th century. Shiba Kōkan. late 18th – early 19th century. Minneapolis Institute of Art. One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring […]

A circle of hip surgery around four continents

Peter Arnold Sydney, Australia   X-ray of the hip. Photo courtesy of Peter Arnold. My story begins in Sydney in late January 1980. A businessman in his mid-fifties (Mr. C.) had been on his way to source products in the UK. As his student son was traveling in Italy, he decided to visit him by […]

Memories of a West Virginia coal camp

Calvin Kunin Columbus, Ohio, United States   Coal town, Eastern Kentucky. Photo by Don Sniegowski. March 21, 2018. Via Flickr. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 This is a brief account of my experience as a physician at a coal mining camp in rural West Virginia. It is based on my memory of events that took place almost […]

Felix Mendelssohn, musical prodigy

Oil portrait of Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, painted in 1846 by Eduard Magnus. From the Berlin State Library. Via Wikimedia. Felix Mendelssohn made his musical debut at age nine. Born in Hamburg in 1809, he came from a distinguished German family that moved to Berlin in 1902. His grandfather and father had been successful businessmen who […]

Franz Liszt, best piano player in Europe

Composer and pianist Franz Liszt. Photo by Franz Hanfstaengl. 1858. Via Wikimedia. Like Mozart and Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt was a musical prodigy. He played the piano when he was five years old. At eight, he could read difficult music, and two years later he was composing music himself. By age twelve he was ranked one […]

The sweet smell of success

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Cropped from photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels “You shall nose him . . .” —Hamlet, Act IV, scene III   It was July 1977. After having done a rotating internship, I was starting my pediatric residency at the academic children’s hospital. My first rotation was in the outpatient clinic, […]

Ángeles Mastretta’s life ripped apart

Bernardo Ng Imperial County, California, United States   Ángeles Mastretta. Photo by Salvador García Bardón. 2009. Via Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0. Ángeles Mastretta, born in 1949 in the city of Puebla, Mexico, is a poet, journalist, and author who was brought to fame by her novel Arráncame la vida, which was translated as Tear this […]

Harvey Cushing and pituitary diseases

JMS Pearce Hull, England, UK   Fig 1. Harvey Cushing. Cropped from: Harvey Williams Cushing and Sir Charles Scott Sherrington. Photograph, 1938. Wellcome Collection. Public Domain. Of the many aspects and contributions of Harvey Williams Cushing (1869-1939) (Fig 1), this sketch concentrates on his identification of a basophilic tumor of the pituitary with adrenal hyperfunction that […]

Medical and literary coupling

Stephen Finn South Africa   (To be read aloud, with gusto and with a strong beat) Collage created by Hektoen staff. Images from left to right. Top row: Portrait of Rabelais, circa 1820. By Louis-François Durrans. From the Rabelais Museum, via Wikimedia; Anton Chekhov, via Wikimedia. Center: Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash Bottom […]

Rural home visit 1973

Paul Rousseau Charleston, South Carolina, United States   The road frozen and snowflakes fluttering, I travel to a distant farmhouse—the sick in bed on her side, hair in sweat-wet crescents and vomitus on the sheets, the husband wailing, “She’s dying, she’s dying,” and a dog and three toddlers lapping milk from the linoleum—and as I […]