Tag Archives: Thessaloniki

Drama in brief

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Winter foliage. Photo by author. Four years earlier I had had the sad duty to announce her debut as a protagonist on the stage of cancer. Now I was witnessing the last act. She came to the first visit with her elder sister, an old acquaintance from our student days […]

R. Austin Freeman and the Victorian forensic thriller

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Richard Austin Freeman, c. 1935. W.L. Briant. Via Encyclopædia Britannica. Many people today are acquainted with well-known books and television series of forensic crime fiction. The modern detective fiction writer is expected to provide detailed descriptions of autopsies, current technology, pharmacology, and toxicology. Yet, even in this relatively new version […]

Sacrifice

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Ruins of the basilica of St. Achillios, Lake Prespa, Greece. Photo by the author. The supine and inert feminine form has been reduced to a few square centimeters of uncovered skin between the jaw and the sternum. Strategically placed green surgical drapes shroud the rest of the body. A series […]

Doctor-patient reunions

Anthony Papagiannis  Thessaloniki, Greece   Sunset. Photo by Anthony Papagiannis The upper half of the face I could see behind the Covid-dictated mask did not tell me much, but the surname she gave rang a clear bell. I had seen several members of a family of the same name in the past, and looking into […]

A wrong time to die

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Lockdown in Thessaloniki. Photo by the author. Death is the one absolute and unexceptional certainty in life. In the Bible we read that there is a time for everything, including a time to die [Ecclesiastes 3:2]. Is there ever a “right” time to die? Faced with such a question, we […]

Young, pretty, and not quite right

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Photo by Anthony Papagiannis. Unless we are in pediatrics, we start in clinical practice with our patients tending to be in the age range of our parents, or even older. Increasingly, as the grey in our temples is promoted to silver, their mean age gets closer to ours, and the […]

Great expectations

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Summer Calm—image by the author “Doctor, I want you to treat her as a forty-year old!” What is the appropriate answer to a demand like that from a daughter about the treatment of her eighty-eight-year-old mother? Any suggestion that her mother might not do well even with the best treatment […]

Brief encounters

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Quicksilver in blue. Photo by Anthony Papagiannis. Doctor-patient relationships are as unique as the potential pairs of doctors and patients. At one end of the spectrum there is the one-time encounter, usually for some straightforward and self-limiting problem: the doctor may never see the patient again. At the other extreme, […]

Dialogues of comfort

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   Roman copy of a bust of Homer, 2nd century AD, British Museum, London. My patient is a veteran physician, quite advanced in years but mentally lucid and fully aware of his condition. His disease is incurable, and he is in need of a chest aspiration for symptomatic relief of his breathlessness. […]