Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: tumor

  • Metastatic sarcoma

    Tulsi Patel Chicago, Illinois, United States   His big regret was never building his son a trampoline, now locked away in the shed like some treasure chest he can’t open. Eyes welling up, he says to me proudly, resignedly “16 tumors” before he coughs up a river of rotten red roses. A Foot Bridge, North…

  • Drama in brief

    Anthony PapagiannisThessaloniki, Greece 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 and close friend of my sister’s. She…

  • 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…

  • Life lessons from death

    Pedro T. LimaRecife, Brazil “How would you like to die?” the professor asked without breaking eye contact. I averted my gaze to ponder the question, but no answers came to mind. “I’ve never thought about it. I guess that I would hope to be with people I love,” I stuttered, still collecting my thoughts. “You…

  • St. Audrey Etheldrida

    JMS PearceHull, England, UK Medicine is full of strange tales, some with unforeseen ramifications. I recently discovered that the origins of the useful word “tawdry” surprisingly lay in a tumor of the throat—nature unspecified—of a seventh-century saint. St. Audrey, Etheldrida, or Æþelðryþ, born c. 636 AD, was an English princess generally referred to as Audrey,…

  • Terminal digit preference

    Marshall Lichtman  Rochester, New York, United States   Figure 1. There are three types of sphygmomanometer; mercury, aneroid, and digital. This figure is of a manual aneroid sphygmomanometer. The rubber pump is used to raise the cuff pressure above the patient’s systolic pressure and then the pressure is released by unscrewing slowly the small valve…

  • Canadian contributions to the study of pathology

    Guillermo QuinonezLaurette GeldenhuysNova Scotia, Canada Canadian and American medicine in general, and pathology in particular, have developed in parallel and in synchrony since the nineteenth century. Despite Canada’s limited population, scientific cultural similarities and geographical conditions would explain such development. Canadians, some of whom practiced both in the U.S. and Canada, have made important contributions…

  • A form of pain

    Ifediba NzubePort Harcourt, Nigeria For Yewande, pain is Èsù slapping her head like a bata drum. But no one sees that; they see only a tumor pushing out her left eye, up her palate, and through her nostrils. Most days she smells like meat gone green. The other patients can tolerate the smell but they…

  • The smell of burning rubber: The fatal illness of George Gershwin

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, USA On the morning of Monday July 12, 1937, New Yorkers who had just suffered through five days of a heat wave that left thirty-eight people dead, awoke to read on the front page of the New York Times about the death of George Gershwin, a native son of their city.…

  • Unfinished business: End of life care and regrets in the films of Akira Kurosawa

    X.M. GriffithsTuckahoe, NY, USA Death and mortality were recurrent themes in Akira Kurosawa’s works but the director examined the issues most acutely in the films Ikiru (1952) and Madadayo (1993). Though the two films hail from different periods of his career, in each the main character is forced to face their own mortality, which provides…