Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Uppsala

  • Of lice and men

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “By consistently tormenting them / with reminders of the lice in their children’s hair, the / School Physician first brought their hatred down on him / But by this familiarity they grew used to him, and, so / at last, they took him for their friend and adviser.”– “The Poor,” William Carlos…

  • Dr. Marilyn Gaston’s lifesaving research

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “[W]e can seize the opportunity to honor the too-often-neglected accomplishments of [B]lack Americans in every endeavor throughout our history.”1– President Gerald Ford, 1976 Marilyn Gaston, MD (b. 1939), grew up in a poor family, with both parents working at low-wage jobs. She graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine in…

  • Book review: The Big Necessity: Adventures in the World of Human Waste

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden Its title might seem frivolous, but this book is serious, and the problems Rose George describes are a matter of life and death. Her take on the disposal of human waste is clearly detailed in her introduction. She avoids euphemism and favors clarity. Forty percent of the world’s population has no access…

  • Help from the horseshoe crab

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Horseshoe crab. Crop of photo by Didier Descouens, 2009, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0. The horseshoe crab (Limulus polyphemus) has not changed in more than 450 million years. It has been called “a living fossil.”1 It is, in fact, not a crab at all, but an arthropod, more closely related…

  • Dr. Mikhail Bulgakov and morphine

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “During the years of war and revolution it was hard to find a hospital without morphine-addicted patients.”1– Vladimir Gorovoy-Shaltan, physician specialist in addiction medicine Mikhail Afanasyevich Bulgakov (1891–1940) was a Russian physician, novelist, and playwright. He earned his medical degree from the University of Kiev (now Kyiv) in 1916. In 1919 he…

  • International adoption of Greek “orphans”

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “He’s only a pawn in their game.”1—Bob Dylan Between 1950 and 1962, 3,200 Greek children were adopted by American couples. The Greek Civil War (1946–1949) had begun after Nazi occupation of Greece ended. Western countries supported the Greek government against the communist rebels.2 After so many years of war, there were orphans…

  • Movie review: Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “Medicine is power. It makes us giants.”– Dr. Daniele Valotti in Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca Bisturi: La Mafia Bianca (1973) is an understated, well-acted, and critical “doctor movie.” Unlike The Hospital, it is not a black comedy of errors, and unlike Where Does It Hurt? it is not a broad, obvious satire.…

  • The Barbie doll syndrome

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “In all the years I’ve been a therapist, I’ve yet to meet a girl who likes her body.”1– Mary Pipher, PhD, clinical psychologist In 1959, the Mattel toy company introduced a doll in the US that was not modeled on a baby or small child, but rather on a young adult. The…

  • Tattoos in the twentieth century

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “It was in 1972 and you didn’t really go around showing tattoos or talking about them…And now all of a sudden it has become the thing to do.”1– Cher, American singer, actor Placing dyes or pigments into the dermis to form a design dates back at least 12,000 years. Tattooing was seen…

  • Movie review: Where Does it Hurt?

    Howard FischerUppsala, Sweden “This film is dedicated to the honest, sincere MDs—whose lives are dedicated to the sacred Hippocratic oath. Will these three doctors please stand up?” This dedication sets the tone of Where Does It Hurt? (1972). Unlike the 1971 film The Hospital, in which patients’ lives are jeopardized by inefficiency, incompetence, and insanity,…