Tag Archives: Winter 2019

The smell of burning rubber: the fatal illness of George Gershwin

James Franklin Chicago, Illinois, USA   George Gershwin, 28 March 1937. Photograph by Carl Van Vetchen. 1937. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division. On the morning of Monday July 12, 1937, New Yorkers who had just suffered through five days of a heat wave that left thirty-eight people dead, awoke to read on the […]

William Gorgas – Life and medical legacy

 Mariel Tishma Chicago, Illinois, United States Portrait of William C. Gorgas. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY Library, London. Wellcome Images The Panama Canal Zone in the early 1900s was described as “one of the must unhealthful places in the world.”1 Ridden with mosquitoes, the Isthmus of Panama was a hotbed of yellow fever, malaria, and […]

An unusual pregnancy: the gestation and delivery of the Nun of Watton

Barbara Hargreaves Durham, United Kingdom   Yates Thompson 13 f.156v Learn more Sometime around the year 1150, a four-year old girl was given to the Gilbertine community of nuns at Watton, England. There she grew up, took vows, and became a nun herself. It appears that she was ill-suited for the life of a religious sister, […]

Maintaining a moral compass in medicine

Jeffrey Lee Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   “The Doctor.” Painting by Sir Luke Fildes, 1891. Location: Tate Gallery, London Fildes the doctor It seemed like just another day during my third-year surgical rotation until I heard Mrs. W. cry. It was during daily rounds in the bustling ICU, and our team was squeezed around a single […]

Tuesday: social admit

Rebecca Slotkin New Haven, Connecticut, United States   “Unraveling” by Ron Slotkin. Used with permission. We have a routine, Dad and I. I wake up first, turn on NPR and brew our coffee. My clamor tells Dad it is morning. This used to be my pre-work ritual before Dad started to get lost — first […]

Joseph Warren: The forgotten founder

Kevin R. Loughlin Boston, Massachusetts, United States   Fig 1 The Leonard Zakim Bridge, Boston “If Warren had lived, Washington would have remained an obscurity.” -Peter Oliver, former chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Court On June 17, a late spring New England morning, thousands of Bostonians will begin their day by traveling over the […]

The doctor becomes the patient: an internist’s journey from skepticism to gratitude

William Shimp  Plantation, Florida, United States   Abdominal section performed on a woman at Vienna, 10 November 1549. Credit: Wellcome Collection. CC BY 4.0 Nothing grabs our attention more than being flattened by a diagnosis of significant illness. Mine arrived just a few weeks ago. For decades I had harbored a large hiatal hernia. I […]

Lost in translation

Jonathan Xian Houston, Texas, United States   Two Human Beings. The Lonely Ones. Edvard Munch. 1894. The Art Institute of Chicago. At the start of residency, you should make a list of five things you value most and think carefully about which ones you can live without. Cross them off one by one until only […]

Charles VIII: the king who bumped his head

Charles VIII was proclaimed king of France in 1470 at the age of thirteen and is remembered in history chiefly for invading Italy to assert his claim to the throne of Naples. He set in motion, by this invasion, a process that left Italy languishing under foreign domination for more than 300 years. During his […]

A good man

Tuhina Raman Philadelphia, PA, USA   The Liquor Bar by Wharton H. Esherick. Illustration for the book Song of the Broad-Axe by Walt Whitman. c. 1923. Philadelphia Museum of Art. My heart sank as soon as I saw it—tumor nodules in the trachea and a mass eroding through the stent in his airway. I had […]