Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Tag: Winter 2010

  • Emily Dickinson’s mystifying in-sight

    Larry ZaroffTony ChanPalo Alto, California, United States In “I heard a Fly buzz—when I died—,” Emily Dickinson manifests her mystifying insight into the physiology of the death of vision, going beyond death and living to talk about it (465).1 Remarkably, her poetic vision provides insights into the function of eyesight that parallels what is currently…

  • Her name was Krystal

    Laura Monahan Rockford, Illinois, United States   Her name was Krystal; she was four years old, and she was tiny—her head barely reaching the top of my knees. She was in the hospital, again, for another surgical procedure. She had undergone twenty-one surgeries since she was born, most related to her defective bowel development, and…

  • Simple gestures: a nursing student’s journey through the ICU

    Elizabeth Cambier, RN Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago For those of us who have chosen to pursue careers in the healthcare field, the lessons we learn in life are what make us true professionals. Like the finishing touches that transform a sketch into a work of art, our lives allow us to read between the…

  • “(W)holistic”: The coining and the connotations

    Richard SobelNegev, Israel  Origin of the term Jan Christian Smuts (1870–1950)—general, statesman, twice Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, and philosopher, published his political treatise, “Holism and Evolution,” in 1926. It is said that Albert Einstein thought Smuts was one of only eleven people in the world who understood his Theory of Relativity.…

  • Is it ethical to bring religion into medicine?

    Patrick GuinanChicago, Illinois, USA Over 200 years ago Voltaire wrote that one half of metaphysics was known to everybody and that the other half will never be known. It is by no means certain that ethics has yet reached the same high degree of development. At the beginnings of recorded history, the priests and the…

  • Risus sardonicus

    Arunachalam KumarMangalore, India There is a pithy adage that goes around in medical circles, “Those who can – DO, those who can’t – TEACH.” Comments like this notwithstanding, some still commit their professional lives to medical teaching as an attractive and rewarding career option. But, who of rational mind, one may ask, would choose anatomy…

  • The patient on the brink

    Ravi ShankarNepal The St. Xavier’s hospital in the village of Ellakkal is in a magnificent location nestled in the Western Ghats of the Idukki district in the Southern Indian state of Kerala. The Ghats are a series of hills that reach about 2,000 meters high and run parallel to India’s west coast around 75 kilometers…

  • Ramazzini and the birth of occupational medicine

    Luciano Daliento Lucia Dal Bianco Gabriella Romeo Italy   Bernardino Ramazzini, considered to be the founder of occupational and industrial medicine, was born in 1633 in Capri, a little town in the north of Italy, known nowadays because of its ceramics. Following the important innovations of the Paduan school of anatomy (Vesalius, Fabricius d’Acquapendente, and…

  • The unconscious eater – the modern glutton

    Goutham Rao  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States It is a basic truth, well known to physicians and many others, that the size of one’s body is an accurate reflection of how much one eats. As a physician specializing in caring for overweight and obese children, I know how difficult this is for many to accept. Telling…

  • Night upon the Moaning Ward

    James Rickert Poet’s statement: This poem was written during the final days of my stem cell transplant for non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and just after a fellow patient on the ward had died of complications similar to those from which I was suffering. It and other poems written during that time helped me face the physical suffering…