Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: William Heberden

  • John Bostock and hay fever

    JMS Pearce Hull, England   Fig 1. Bostock’s paper to Medico-Chirurgical Transactions of London, 1819. Before the 1800s, hay fever, now estimated as affecting 5–10% of Western populations, was not widely recognized by physicians. James MacCulloch MD FRS, a doctor and geologist, in 1828 was the first to use the term hay fever, which he…

  • “God Helps Them That Help Themselves”: Poor Richard and the inoculation controversy

    Stewart JustmanMissoula, Montana, United States Before vaccination there was inoculation, and long before opposition to vaccination for Covid-19 there was furious resistance to the practice of inoculating for smallpox. Upon being introduced into Boston in 1721, in the midst of an outbreak of smallpox—exactly the wrong time and place for a dispassionate trial of a…

  • The Gold-Headed Cane revisited

    JMS PearceEast Yorks, England Over many centuries there have been several icons symbolic of medical practice. Typical is the single serpent, the Aesculapian wand — a “totem of Medicine”— seen in the constellation Ophiochus (the serpent holder). Serpents in ancient cultures represented fertility, rebirth, and strength. The Aesculapian wand is often confused with the two…

  • William Heberden on angina pectoris, 1772

    “There is a disorder of the breast marked with strong and peculiar symptoms, considerable for the kind of danger belonging to it, and not extremely rare . . . The seat of it and the sense of strangling and anxiety with which it is attended, may make it not improperly be called angina pectoris. Those…