Volume 1, Issue 2

Medical History

Rudolf Virchow, Pathologist, Anthropologist, and Social Thinker

Rudolf VirchowElliot Weisenberg, M.D.

Very early in medical or graduate school, we learn that Rudolf Virchow described the abnormal protein amyloid, and learn of Virchow’s node, Virchow’s triad, and Virchow’s angle. They learn he was responsible for the acceptance of the cell theory. Yet these major discoveries and efforts barely scratch the surface of his accomplishments. More…

Eisenhower and Crohn’s Disease

James L. Franklin, M.D.

This article was first published in the Illinois Carol Fisher Chapter Newsletter of September 11, 2005, published by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

It is still well within the public consciousness that Dwight David Eisenhower suffered a myocardial infarction three years into his first term of office as President of the United States and that he overcame this illness and went on to win a second term in office. It is, perhaps, less well remembered that nine months after suffering a heart attack he underwent an operation to relieve a small bowel obstruction secondary to regional enteritis and again was able to overcome this setback and campaign for re-election. More…

Emerging Infections: a Perpetual Challenge

David M. Moren, MD; Gregory K. Folkers, MS, MPH and Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

This article was first published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, Volume 8, Issue 11, Nov. 2008.

Emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, and their determinants, have recently attracted substantial scientific and popular attention. HIV/AIDS, severe acute respiratory syndrome, H5N1 avian influenza, and many other emerging diseases have either proved fatal or caused international alarm. More…


Art and Medicine

The Dead Mother Series of Egon Schiele: Psychoanalytic Use of an Artist’s Image

Prudence Gourguechon, M.D.

Two intensely creative men lived and worked in early 20th century Vienna, both intent on elucidating aspects of the darker side of the human psyche. There is no evidence that they knew each other. Sigmund Freud of course was developing the theory and technique of psychoanalysis. The painter Egon Schiele lived a mere 28 years before succumbing to influenza in the 1918 pandemic. In his short life and artistic career, he created a remarkable body of work that vividly communicates inchoate, nonverbal, profound psychic experiences. More…

Lost Babies: How a Photosculpture is Changing the Etiquette of Consolation

Nancy Gershman

When infants die, mothers prepare with Kübler-Ross’ five stages of grief, funeral home pamphlets, support group calendars and consolations (your fertility! Your other children!). Yet all this effort to erase a mother’s memory may change with a miraculous, three-dimensional sculpture called a Lost Baby. How these precious objects came to be, how they are teaching etiquette to the well-meaning, and how they are connecting mothers again with their babies, days or decades after their deaths is at the heart of this story. More…

The Art of Laura Olear : Viruses and Bacteria Series

We live in an age of profound advances in health and medicine, yet there has never been a wider gap between objective and perceptive health. More…


Medicine and Literature

AIDS Literature: A Cross Cultural Perspective

Clara Orban, Ph.D.

With the onset of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), gay writers in the United States wrote texts disparaging the political inertia when confronting the disease, almost as though the struggle to cure AIDS were an extension of the political struggle for gay rights. French authors are often less political and more philosophical in their constructions of gay identity. More…

SHORT STORY: “Crisis in the Air”

Crisis in the airGeorge Dunea, M.D.

Even the most experienced doctor might admit, if pressed, to at least a twinge of anxiety, or even a slight feeling of helplessness, when called to minister to a patient with preciously little else but his hands to rely on. Even up in an airplane, where many calls for doctors take place nowadays, the availability of a tank of oxygen, a defibrillator, and a few irrelevant drugs would hardly serve to assuage his feelings. More…


Medical Ethics

Can Hippocrates Save Modern Medicine?: A Plea to Return to Our Roots

Patrick Guinan, M.D.

Modern medicine is in the midst of a morale crisis. In this brief review I will attempt to 1.) explain why, 2.) note that medicine has abrogated control of its destiny, and 3.) suggest that a return to the Hippocratic doctor-patient relationship can save medicine. More…

Medical Students’ Attitudes Toward Torture

This article was first published in TORTURE Journal, Volume 18, Number 2, 2008.

Jonathan Bean, third year medical student,* David Ng, third year medical student, & Hakan Demirtas,** Ph.D., and Patrick Guinan, M.D.***

Torture, whether it be domestic or war related, is a public health issue of current concern. It is the position of the American Medical Association (AMA), The World Medical Association (WMA), the United Nations Declaration and the Geneva Convention, that torture is unethical, “morally wrong” and never to be condoned. The attitudes of medical students, our future physicians, will be critical in reducing the incidence of torture. More…


Nurses and the Humanities


FranceIn June 2008, the Hektoen Institute Nurses and Humanities group organized an art and healing study tour in France. A group of 27 women, mostly nurses, set out to embark on an eight-day journey in Paris, the City of Light, and its surrounding sites including Versailles, Chartres, Auvers-sur-Oise, Taize and Beaune in Burgundy. The articles below reflect various aspects and experiences of this pilgrimage.

Art & Healing Pilgrimage to France: The Art of Re-Imagining

FranceLynda Slimmer, RN, PhD

I am not an especially creative person. I am a doer; I get things done. I help others channel their creativity into realistic outcomes. However, I am that individual that theologian and ethicist, Richard Niebuhr describes as “a poet who creates by taking journeys.” More…

Journaling – Enhancing the Arts Experience While Traveling

Mary Ann McDermott, RN, EdD, FAAN

“The Plight of Nursing” from a collection of poems by Carol Battaglia, a retired nurse practitioner at Loyola Medical Center, concludes: “Sometimes at the end of my shift, I cannot account for all of me. I retrace my steps, in hopes of putting myself back together again.” More…

A Pilgrim’s Poems from the Heart.

Joan Callahan, MSW, RN

I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother, school nurse, colleague, friend and neighbor. My vocation is healing in all dimensions of my life. I care for spirit as well as bodies, knowing that spirit guides and informs how we care for ourselves. Spirit is what guides my path, which is why my spirit leapt when I read of the opportunity to travel to France with other nurses and take time for myself in a new setting, alone. It was time for my spirit to renew itself. More…

Nursing During the US Civil War: A Movement Toward the Professionalization of Nursing

Nursing Karen J. Egenes, RN, EdD

In April 1861, there was no organized medical corps or field hospital services. In addition, there was no provision for military nurses. At the time, there were no nursing schools, no “trained” nurses, and no nursing credentials. More…



The Sound of One Hand Clapping: Meditations on Sinistrality

SinistralityPaper at the Chicago Literary Club Presented on April 7, 2008, by James L. Franklin, M.D.

It all began on the coldest morning of the season in early December 2006. Painters were still in our apartment putting the finishing touches on what had proven to be an all too prolonged renovation project. However—the end was now in sight, and I was dearly anticipating a return to normalcy. Rushing home with packages in both hands including hot soup purchased for a lunch I hoped to share with my wife, I tripped and fell crossing the street at the corner of Rush (ominously named) and Bellevue on Chicago’s near North Side. More…