Tag Archives: Vignettes at Large

Schistosomiasis

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   She was admitted to Ain Shams Hospital in Cairo after vomiting blood, having slipped into Nile mud while harvesting sugar cane eighteen months before. Surprisingly, she had not fallen into the current, but had regained her footing and survived her fall. Although all seemed well for the next […]

Kwashiorkor

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   An eleven-month-old Egyptian infant sat wailing on a cot, his abdomen pouched out and covered by spider-like purplish veins. His tiny arms and legs were like sticks, except for his swollen ankles. He was brought in by his mother who knew that his food and care would be […]

Lucid interval

Emma Manuel Eshwar Rajesh Chennai, India   Clutches of Cannabis. Photo by Marlon Lara on Unsplash Even during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, some people like me were silently grateful for the opportunity to spend some time with their family. Born as a single child whose parents got frequent transfers, I had lived with […]

No complaints, only symptoms

Peter Arnold  Sydney, Australia   Aerial view of Sydney Harbour. 2015. Photo by user Whiteghost.ink, via Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 4.0 “No complaints, only symptoms,” I told my cardiologist this year. How dare I complain? I am eighty-four. Thirty-two years have passed since my quintuple coronary artery bypass; eighteen years since a diagnosis, in one of […]

Crawford W. Long, first use of ether anesthesia

Crawford Williamson Long (1815–1878) is best known for his first use of ether as an anesthetic. He graduated from medical school in Pennsylvania and walked the hospitals in New York. He then returned home to set up practice in Jefferson, Georgia, a village some 140 miles from a railroad, where professional visits were made on […]

The novice

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   The Vale of Rest. John Everett Millais. September 1858. Tate Britain. Via Wikimedia  Living in the convent at age eighteen, the novice practiced vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. All she ate was in vain, the more she prayed, the more weight she lost, the weaker she became. […]

St. Francis heals a leper

Giuseppe Maria Crespi (1665-1747) was a Bolognese painter nicknamed “the Spanish One” (Lo Spagnuolo) because he wore tight clothes characteristic of the Spanish fashion of the time. In this paining from the Brera, Milan, he shows St. Francis healing a leper by touching the shoulder which presumably had been affected by the disease. Saint Francis […]

Mandarin doctor examines the patient’s pulse

This nineteenth century Mandarin doctor is flouting the traditionally accepted rules of medical examination of inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation. He is intently focusing on the patient’s pulse but seems to have omitted the preliminary step of inspection in that he is looking away from his patient instead of looking at her. Credit: A doctor […]

Hippocrates by the bedside

This rather unwell looking patient is being fed or medicated by a physician supposed to be Hippocrates, assisted by a wide-eyed female professional. De regimine acutorum was published in England in the thirteenth century. The image (on the left) is an enlarged historiated initial from the medieval illuminated manuscript (shown on the right). Hippocrates Medicates […]

The consultation or last hope, by Thomas Rowlandson (1808)

Five doctors have been called in consultation to see an obese patient suffering from gout. An old nurse on the left is deeply asleep. Several other doctors shown on the right are waiting their turn to give their opinion—in this age when consultation by multiple physicians was the custom. The Consultation or Last Hope, by […]