Tag Archives: Winter 2011

The human condition

Patrick D.Guinan Chicago, Illinois, USA This article was previously published in Social Justice Review, Vol. 101, No. 5-6, May-June 2010, pp. 89-90   Introduction The human condition is the “totality of the experiences of being human and living human lives.”1 The exposition of this idea has occupied philosophers from the beginning, but more recently has […]

Rice and reason

Wendy J. Gu Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA   Nian gao may be deep fried for New Year’s Day Rice, noodles, breads, buns, and pancakes all appear in traditional Chinese cuisine, but white rice is the ultimate staple. It can be found at all meals, from breakfast to dinner to dessert, in various guises and preparations, but it […]

The god that I know

Rae Brown Lexington, Kentucky, USA   When we start down the road toward medical school and residency, the idealists among us have a picture of the kind of physicians they will become. Our perception of the future rarely coincides with the reality that we often face. Ideally, principles that conflict with our own view of […]

Blind date

Anthony Papagiannis Thessaloniki, Greece   “And who has sent you to me?” Working as a private consulting pulmonologist in a healthcare system where referral letters are virtually nonexistent, I always ask new patients to tell me who sent them—a social engagement routine before we get into purely medical matters. It works as an informal survey […]

A good bedside manner

Richard Holm Sioux Falls, South Dakota, United States   The following essay was presented as part of the South Dakota Public Broadcasting Television show On Call on July 22, 2010. In 1988 Arnold P. Gold MD, a physician educator at Columbia University, noted a disturbing trend for medical students and residents. Students were over-emphasizing advancing […]

A fortunate man

Martin Duke Mystic, Connecticut, United States   Earlier in the week the last patients were seen, their records given to them or sent to their new physicians, and the final farewells were said. The movers have left, and the office is now empty except for an old cast-iron medicine cabinet, a pencil sharpener attached to […]

Research subject

Eric Cohen Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States   Much has been written about clinical research and its societal benefit.1 But research can also confer unexpected individual benefits, as shown by the story of Mrs. G, the recipient of a kidney transplant. She had been feeling ill for several days, short of breath and coughing. So, her […]

Book Review: Alain de Botton’s The Pleasures and Sorrow of Work

Sima Barmania London, United Kingdom   Published by Penguin books, 2009 ISBN: 9780241143537 What do you suppose biscuit manufacturing and the healthcare profession have in common? Well, according to Alain de Botton they both attain a sense of meaning by increasing pleasure or decreasing the suffering of another human being, a necessary prerequisite for a […]

Caduceus versus the Staff of Asclepius

 Portrait of an Elderly Physician Gaspare Pagani Philadelphia Museum of Art This painting from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is attributed to Gaspare Pagani, a relatively obscure sixteenth century artist from Modena, Italy, the world capital of balsamic vinegar. It shows an elderly man carrying a staff with two serpents coiled around it, serving to […]

The model for Albrecht Dürer’s Praying Hands

William R. Albury George M. Weisz New South Wales, Australia   Figure 1 Praying hands, c. 1508, Albrecht Dürer Brush drawing on blue primed paper Albertina Museum Vienna, Austria The image of Praying Hands by Albrecht Dürer, painted on an altarpiece in the sixteenth century and destroyed by fire in the seventeenth century, has come down to […]