Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: War and Veterans

  • Stamping out preventive medicine

    Michael Ellman Wilmette, Illinois, United States   Captain Michael and son at the medal ceremony, 1968. In 1965, I became the Chief Preventive Medicine Officer of the United States Southern Command. One of the eleven unified commands of the Department of Defense, the Southern Command was headquartered in the Panama Canal Zone and represented our…

  • A history of military medical services

    George Porter Newcastle, UK   Capsarii depicted on Trajan’s Column. From “The Roman Army Medical Service,” Malton Museum. CC BY-SA 4.0. Hippocrates once said that “war is the only proper school of the surgeon.” War is an undeniable driver of medical innovation, and the structure, procurement and philosophy of military medical services often reflect the…

  • The fall

    Max Kutch Hanover, New Hampshire   The author (face shown) with his team. From the author’s personal collection. Gazing through my night vision goggles (NVGs) at the green outlines of my teammates, we began to silently enter our sniper hide. My breathing labored under the heavy weight of my battle gear and the thick, humid…

  • Comments on Dr. James Franklin’s article on George Orwell and the Spanish Civil War

    Stuart Poticha Chicago, Illinois, United States   In 1966 as a young surgeon who had just completed his residency, I was drafted into the United States Army. Following basic training at Fort Sam Houston, I was sent to Vietnam, where I became the Chief of Surgery of the 12th Evacuation Hospital in Cu Chi. The…

  • They don’t teach us that

    Evelyn M. Potochny Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States   Soldiers in line to get in a plane. Photo by Pixabay. You called in your own medevac. You’d even tourniqueted both legs, or what was left of them. And when the Chinook kicked up all that dust and finally landed, you looked so—calm. Someone read each name…

  • Atrocities in Asia: Japan’s infamous Unit 731

    Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   Bayonet practice, wherein Japanese soldiers used dead Chinese for targets. photographed by an Associated Press photographer near Tientsin. Date, 5 September 1937. Source, LIFE, Oct 11, 1937. page 30. Via Wikimedia In 1931 the Japanese army occupied the province of Manchuria in north-east China and continued to invade and occupy…

  • Prisoners on leave: Vietnam veterans and the Golden Age Western

    Edward Harvey  Missoula, Montana, United States   Vietnam War – Hue, 17 Feb 1968 – US Marines Approaching Movie Theater Displays – Photo by Nik Wheeler. Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS. Via Flickr. “I think we all died a little in that damn war.” – The Outlaw Josey Wales   “So…what have you been up to?” When…

  • George Orwell and the Spanish Civil War: A brush with death

    James L. FranklinChicago, Illinois, United States Robert Capa’s “The Fallen Soldier” is the iconic photograph of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). The original title was “Loyalist Militiaman at the Moment of Death, Carro Muriano, September 5, 1936.” The photograph captures a Republican soldier at the very moment of his death. Dressed in civilian clothing, a…

  • African American contract doctors in the military

    Edward McSweegan Kingston, Rhode Island, United States   African American Soldiers in Cuba, 1898, Wikipedia In the spring of 1898, the United States rushed into a war with Spain but lacked adequate troops, training, weapons, transport, supplies, food, landing craft, and medical personnel. One deficit that could be corrected before the shooting started was the…

  • Battle of Gettysburg

    Reed Brockway Bontecou (1824-1907) was an American surgeon from Troy, New York, who in 1846 made a trip up the Amazon river to collect flora and fauna for the local natural history museum, and whose surgical feats include the first successful ligation of a traumatic aneurysm of the axillary artery in America (1857) and the…