Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: United Kingdom

  • Book review: Fighting for Life: The Twelve Battles That Made Our NHS, and the Struggle for Its Future

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, UK The United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) was born on July 5, 1948, and on the seventy-fifth anniversary of its existence, British journalist and broadcaster Isabel Hardman has produced a book using military analogies to focus on the many political battles and political contests that have shaped its current form. The…

  • Book review: How the NHS Coped with COVID-19

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom This work is a timely and important contribution to the literature on the COVID-19 pandemic, which has wreaked havoc worldwide. Following the cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown cause in Wuhan, China at the end of 2019, things would never be the same again. In this book, the author has…

  • Early surgery of meningocele

    JMS PearceHull, England A variety of dysraphic states, recorded since antiquity, (Fig 1)1 are caused by the failed closure of the neural tube during the fourth week of embryonic life. They include hydrocephalus, Chiari malformations, and various types of spina bifida with meningocele or meningomyelocele. Nicolaes Tulp (1593–1674)—subject of Rembrandt’s The Anatomy Lesson—in Observationes Medicae…

  • Book review: Understanding the NHS

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The National Health Service in the United Kingdom was founded in 1948 by Aneurin Bevan, a Welsh Labour Party politician and health minister in Clement Attlee’s post-war Labour government. Bevan was a coal miner before entering Parliament in 1928. He had long campaigned for a free health service for all…

  • Book review: Civilization and the Culture of Science

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The word civilization has both Latin and French origins: civitas (city) and civis (citizen) in Latin, and civilise (civilized) in French. In 1923, physician, philosopher, and theologian Albert Schweitzer wrote in The Philosophy of Civilization that “Civilization was essentially the sum total of all progress made by man in every…

  • The pineal: seat of the soul

    JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Pineal gland The pineal for millennia had been a structure of mystery. In Ancient Egyptian culture, The Eye of Horus was a sign of prosperity and protection, often referred to as the third eye. In Ayurvedic physiology it corresponds to the sixth chakra—Ajna, located in the…

  • William Wordsworth: “The blind poet”?

    JMS PearceHull, England, United Kingdom William Wordsworth (1770–1850) was born in Cockermouth, Cumberland, on April 7, 1770. He was the totemic father of the Lakeland poets, who extolled the relation between man and the natural world: a wedding between nature and the human mind that to him symbolized the mind of God. A prolific writer…

  • What makes a polymath, a genius, or a man who knows everything?

    JMS Pearce Hull, England, United Kingdom   Fig 1. Einstein playing his violin. From CMUSE via Quora. Public domain. The question posed in this title is of course imponderable and ridiculous, but nevertheless fascinating. Until the Enlightenment (c. 1750–1800), an intellectual “Renaissance man” could have read most of the important books printed. He might well…

  • Book review: Insulin – The crooked timber

    Arpan K. BanerjeeSolihull, United Kingdom The title of this interesting book is taken from the German philosopher Immanuel Kant, who wrote that: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing can ever be made.” It is applicable to the tortuous way scientific discoveries are made and is particularly pertinent to diabetes and the…

  • Samuel Johnson: “The great convulsionary”

    JMS PearceHull, England, United Kingdom This paper reproduces in an abridged form an earlier article by its author1 appraising the evidence that Samuel Johnson suffered from Tourette’s syndrome. Several authors have commented on the many eccentricities of Dr. Samuel Johnson (Fig 1).2 Thomas Tyers, for example, has written as follows: His gestures, which were a…