Tag Archives: Tuberculosis

Franz Kafka, A Country Doctor, (and Bob Dylan)

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Elk Viewing Sleigh Ride – Thunder Bay Resort, Hillman MI. Photo by Joe Ross. Via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0 Certainly doctors are stupid, or rather, they’re not more stupid than other people but their pretensions are ridiculous; [but] you have to reckon with the fact that they become more and […]

Selman Waksman, “father of antibiotics” and conquest of tuberculosis

[Dr. Selman Waksman, half-length portrait, facing left at work in the laboratory] / World Telegram & Sun photo by Roger Higgins. 1953. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Selman Abraham Waksman came to the United States in 1910 and worked for a few years on a farm in New Jersey. Born in a rural […]

Book Review of John Keats’ Medical Notebook

Arpan K. Banerjee Solihull, United Kingdom   Cover: John Keats’ Medical Notebook February 23, 2021, marked the bicentenary of the death of the great Romantic poet John Keats. Born in 1795, Keats lived a tragically short life, dying at the age of only twenty-five. It is perhaps little known that he first qualified as an […]

The finality in their voices: death, disease, and palliation in opera

Lea C. Dacy Eelco F. M. Wijdicks Rochester, Minnesota, United States   Figure 1: Violetta’s deathbed in La Traviata, from 2009 Glimmerglass Opera production directed by Sir Jonathan Miller. Photo by Richard Termine, used with his permission. I know she had tuberculosis! She was coughing her brains out . . . but still she kept […]

The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and the legacy of Long John Silver

George Venters Scotland   The “Old Surgical Hospital” as it is today. Courtesy of Dr. Iain MacIntyre. Faced with the danger of having his right foot amputated in 1873, the real “Long John Silver,” the English poet William E. Henley, turned for help to Joseph Lister and became a patient in the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. […]

Simon Flexner, infectious diseases pioneer

Simon Flexner. circa 1930s. Courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive Center. Source, Infectious diseases shaped the life of Simon Flexner, who rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most successful and prominent scientists in American medicine. His contributions to the field of infectious diseases were legion. He became the first chairman of pathology at […]

Girolamo Cardano: Renaissance physician and polymath

Born at Pavia in the duchy of Lombardy in 1501, Girolamo Cardano practiced medicine for fifty years but is remembered chiefly as a polymath. He composed 200 works, made important contributions to mathematics and algebra, invented several mechanical devices (some still in use today), and published extensive philosophical tracts and commentaries on the ancient philosophers […]

Novalis: the white plague and the blue flower

Nicolas Roberto Robles  Badajoz, Spain   Figure 1. Bust of Novalis at Nikolaifriedhof (Weiβenfels). Photo by Doris Antony. CC-BY-SA-2.5. Novalis was the pseudonym and pen name of Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr1 von Hardenberg, a poet, author, mystic, and philosopher of early German Romanticism. Young Hardenberg adopted the pen name “Novalis” from his twelfth-century ancestors who […]

Doctor Johnson and his ailments

Samuel Johnson, L.L.D. ca.1770. Llyfrgell Genedlaethol Cymru – The National Library of Wales. Public Domain Samuel Johnson, one of the greatest English literary figures of all time, is remembered more for what he said than for what he wrote. Other writers may have been more successful or more profound, but none had as great a […]

Robert Louis Stevenson and hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

Sally Metzler Chicago, Illinois, USA   Fig. 1: Edward Joseph F. Timmons, Stevenson House, ca. 1940, oil on canvas, Collection of the Union League Club Chicago. Famed Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) traveled to Monterey, California, in 1879 and lived for three months on the second floor of a white adobe boarding house called […]