Volume 1, Issue 3 – Spring 2009

Medical Anthropology

Cannibalism:  Just What the Doctor Ordered

Carole A. Travis Henikoff

African Miniature of cannibal victimIt may come as a surprise to many that their ancestors practiced cannibalism, especially when some scholars deny cannibalism ever happened.  Yet the truth is, we all have cannibals in our closet. Throughout history human beings have consumed human flesh for various reasons.


African Miniature of Cannibal Victim


Medical History

The Anatomist’s Violin

Elizabeth A. J. Scott, MD

Dr Knox

“Its tone was pure. The music enchanting.” So read the review of music played on Dr. Robert Knox’s violin for the visit of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons to Edinburgh in 1983. But if the instrument could speak as well as sing what an amazing tale it would tell.  More…

John Moore, MD: Physician, Travel Writer, and Social Commentator

Einar Perman, MD, PhD

Many years ago I read a book entitled A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland and Germany. It was published anonymously “by a gentleman” and printed in London in 1779. The title promised impressions from major European countries during a turbulent period. I was not disappointed. It was a superb book. As it turned out, it was written by John Moore M.D. (1729 – 1802)—a remarkable man. More…

Diagnosing Defectives: Disability, Gender and Eugenics in the United States, 1910-1924

Sara Vogt, MS, Ph.D. Candidate
The science of eugenics developed in countries around the world such as Great Britain, the United States, and Germany during the second half of the nineteenth century as a means of fighting emergent public health and social problems like tuberculosis, prostitution, and the so-called degeneration of the race. The word “eugenic” springs from the Greek words “eu” meaning good and “gen” meaning born – together denoting “well-born.” The aim of eugenics was to change the behavior of the general public through voluntary or coercive means in order to increase the number of “well-born” individuals, thereby improving the health and ultimate strength of the nation.  More…


Art and Medicine


Gerda Meyer Bernstein


River is a 32 ft. x 20 in. x 20 in. installation. It is made up of a wooden box with 10,000 vials filled with a red substance simulating blood. The vials overflow at one end, spilling all over the floor like the uncontrollability of the AIDS epidemic. More….


Personal Magic: Creativity & Shamanic Ways for Wellbeing

Kate Hawkes

The key to healing and wellness is, most agree, a combination of mind-body dynamics and, perhaps spirit. How the three interact and what happens when they do is the subject of studies and surmise, hard fact and anecdote. I have no doubt that when an individual is actively engaged in their own wellness and healing, when they have hope, power and joy in life itself, then they will be better able to cope with whatever comes. That may be poor health, aging, or death. More…


Zachary T. Hollis


Progressions is the prizewinning visual piece from the 2009 issue of Body Electric, the literary and visual arts journal of the University of Illinois College of Medicine. More…

Medicine on canvas web gallery

This web gallery features 30 paintings illustrating various aspects of medicine: anatomy lesson, tooth pullers, apothecaries, quacks, ladies fainting, and more….


Medicine and Literature

Saul Bellow’s Doctor Adler: The Achieving Medical Father and His Non-Achieving Son

Solomon Posen, MD

This paper concerns itself with the portrayal of Doctor Adler who, significantly, is not a share broker or a real estate agent but a prominent and highly respected retired internist whose unsympathetic behavior towards his non-achieving son is due, at least in part, to his medical background.  More…

Grumpy Doctors and the Short Story

Tony Miksanek, MD

Three short stories, “The Use of Force,” “Brute,” and “The Steel Windpipe,” sizzle with the tension between grumpy doctors, tough patients, and worried family members.  They are all doctor stories – brief tales written by practicing physicians and narrated from the doctor’s point-of-view – where good intentions somehow lead to big trouble.  More…

One Thing We Can’t Live Without

Liam Farrell, MD

When God appeared to me and ordained me as his prophet, I was rather disappointed. He was tall and rather overtly Aryan, with a long, white beard (no genuflection to the minorities), and worst of all, had a cultured English accent. He doesn’t sound one bit like Morgan Freeman, I thought, as He stepped up into a winged chariot that was piloted by an angel. Whether the pilot was male or female, I couldn’t quite make out, but he or she was disconcertingly attractive.  More…

A Visit to New York: A Wonderful Town

George Dunea, MD

Washington Square Park in NYC

New York remains exciting, vast, wonderfully alive.  On Fifth Avenue, elegant ladies promenade in the sun, ride in horse carriages, spend their money at Gucci’s and Tiffany’s, or cast wistful eyes at the window where Empress Josephine’s tiara and the emerald-studded crown of the Romanovs are exhibited behind the unbreakable glass.



Medical Humanities

Socrates on Clinical Excellence

George Dunea, MD
Socrates StatueOriginally published in The Lancet

The year is 410 B.C., Socrates and the physician Democedes are walking in a shady grove,

on the road to Megara.  The topic of discussion is the achievement of excellence in clinical medicine.

Can excellence be taught, is it acquired through practice, or is there another way? And if indeed excellence can be taught, should our young be instructed by the teachers of the academy or by the physicians who practice the art of healing the sick? More…


Nurses’ Corner

I Can Take Care of Myself-If You Teach Me How!

Nancy Burke, APN, MSN, BC

Rhiannon is five. She has rheumatoid arthritis. Every Monday she gets an injection of an anti-inflammatory drug, and she doesn’t like it! During her Christmas visit to see “Nana” (her nickname for me, her grandmother), there were three Mondays. Katy, Rhiannon’s mother, had requested that “Nana” give her the injections. It’s been a long, long time since Nana’s injection days, but a mental review of the process and a few minutes with the trusty orange seemed adequate. More…

A Cultural Immersion from a Nurse Perspective

Carolyn Hope Smeltzer, RN, EdD, FAAN, FACHE

Recently I had the opportunity to visit Vietnam with a Loyola University Chicago group. The purpose of the trip, organized for Loyola faculty and supporters, was to immerse ourselves in the culture, the values, the life, and the healthcare system of the Vietnamese people. More…

From the Grotesque to the Sublime: Innovations in Nursing Education

Judith Frei, RN, MS

From the Grotesque to the Sublime describes my efforts to incorporate the sciences and visual arts in nursing education using two very unusual academic settings: the morgue and the art museum.  More…



Medical Ethics

 Has Medicine Lost the Ethics Battle?

Patrick D. Guinan, M.D., M.P.H.


Originally published in Linacre Quarterly, May 1998

Modern medicine began with the Greeks and has developed over the past 2,500 years. Medical ethics, which was also initiated by the Greeks, and summarized in the Hippocratic Oath, has guided the moral actions of the physician in his medical practice for the past two and one half millennia. Recently, however, there have been profound changes in bioethics, not only in how the basic Hippocratic cannon is understood, but also in who interprets the code. The purpose of this essay is to explain why the clinical decision-making role of the physician has been overshadowed by ethical theories and ethical specialists. More…