Tag Archives: Tuberculosis

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 […]

Ladies in red: medical and metaphorical reflections on La Traviata

Milad Matta Gregory Rutecki Lyndhurst, Ohio, United States   Illustration by Jason Malmberg. “. . . phthisic beauty[’s] . . . most famous operatic embodiment was Violetta Valery . . .This physical type became not only fashionable but sexy . . . When a society does not understand—and cannot control—a disease, ground seems to open […]

How conflict and bureaucracy delayed the elimination of yellow fever

Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   Army Surgeon General George Miller Sternberg, Wikimedia The Golden Age of Bacteriology (1876-1906) saw the emergence of techniques to cultivate bacterial pathogens and develop vaccines and anti-toxin therapies against them. The new bacteriologists rapidly identified the agents causing anthrax, gonorrhea, typhoid, tuberculosis, cholera, tetanus, diphtheria, plague, and […]

Health, wellness, and their determinants

Travis Kirkwood Ottawa, Ontario, Canada   Original map made by John Snow in 1854. Cholera cases are highlighted in black. 2nd Ed by John Snow. Public Domain due to age. John Snow is often referred to as the father of modern epidemiology. His work is certainly worthy of this1 and present-day public health2 still strives toward […]

What did Dorothy Reed See?

Sara Nassar Cairo, Egypt   Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall (Photograph by A. Pearsall, courtesy of Alan Mason Chesney Archives of John Hopkins Medical School). “They say that genius is an infinite capacity for taking pains.”1 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A Study in Scarlet.   Dorothy Mabel Reed Mendenhall opened the doors of medicine at […]