Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: University of Pennsylvania

  • Las Animas: A Cuban yellow fever hospital

    Enrique Chaves-CarballoKansas City, Kansas, United StatesDavid SchwartzAtlanta, Georgia, United States John Hay, U.S. Secretary of State under Theodore Roosevelt, described the Spanish-American War as “a splendid little war” because it was brief and resulted in relatively few casualties.1 The Treaty of Paris, formally signed on December 10, 1898, ended Spanish occupation of Cuba and established…

  • Moral judgment in medicine: “Sensibility of heart”

    Jack CoulehanStony Brook, New York, United States I want to reflect on the role of emotions, or “sensibility of heart,” in medical judgment. I take the term “judgment,” in general, to refer to the human capacity of assessing, analyzing, and reaching a conclusion with regard to any point or course of action. Any specific conclusion…

  • 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…

  • William Osler: Clinician and teacher with a pediatric interest

    Göran Wettrell Lund, Sweden   Figure 1. Sir William Osler in Oxford, photo presented by Lady Osler. Sir William Osler has been described as one of the greatest physicians of his time, especially known for his bedside medicine and teaching (Figure 1). He has also been characterized as “a pediatric-minded worker within the widespread wine-yard…

  • Not as a Stranger: The desperate medical student

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden In order to study medicine, a future doctor needs motivation, some intelligence, a medical school, and the ability to pay for the education. Morton Thompson’s 1954 novel Not As a Stranger follows a young man through childhood, medical school, and beyond. A film based on the book was released in 1955, and…

  • The Quaker and the Jew, an enduring and impactful friendship: Thomas Hodgkin and Moses Montefiore

    Marshall A. Lichtman Rochester, New York, United States   Obelisk over Hodgkin grave site in Jaffa, Israel. Moses Montefiore, on his return to England, purchased a column of Aberdeen granite nine feet tall and had it inscribed with a lengthy tribute to Hodgkin “as a mark of my respect and esteem.” It was transported to…

  • Albert C. Barnes, MD: the physician who spun silver into gold

    Sylvia Karasu New York, New York, United States   Argyrol, the compound developed by Dr. Albert C. Barnes and Dr. Hermann Hille to treat ophthalmia neonatorum, a conjunctivitis that led to blindness in newborns then caused by gram-negative gonococcus bacteria. Infection was contracted from mothers during vaginal delivery. Credit: Argyrol bottle, c. 1902-1907, Barnes &…

  • Walt Whitman: A difficult patient

    Jack CoulehanStony Brook, New York, United States On June 15, 1888, the following notice appeared in the New York Times under the headline AGED POET SUFFERS RELAPSE: Prof. William Osler, of the University of Pennsylvania, was summoned by telegraph this afternoon to go to Walt Whitman’s bedside. The aged poet had a relapse, and it…