Volume 2, Issue 3

Feature articles

The pianist

A piano located in the White House.Steven Cheng, MD

Washington University

St. Louis, Missouri

She was barely five feet tall, an edentulous grandmotherly type who always seemed shocked to find such a large instrument awaiting her on stage. Seated before this familiar friend, she was utterly transformed. More…

Body heat: September 1944

Winona Winkler Wendth

Lancaster, Massachusetts

I traveled up to Terezin against my will. My writing instructor had made the assignment. “Just write down what you see,” he said at nine in the morning while we squeezed into the aisle of a public bus headed out from Prague. More…

Each day is magnified

Ronald Pies, MD

SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York

Suddenly and inexplicably I discovered that I was anemic. More…

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Duke of Edinburg Award - Cheviot Hills in early springDr. Christopher Cameron

Kelso, United Kingdom

The call came at two o’clock from John, a farmer/patient, who sounded puzzled and alarmed. More…



Healing hidden wounds

Jean Cozier

Awakenings Foundation

Chicago, Illinois

When we’re small and we hurt ourselves, we usually find ways to fix it. We may cry a little, suck the wound, or run to Mommy so that she can kiss it and make it better. More…

Artwork by Monika Filipiak Peszek

"Looking Out"

Monika Filipiak Peszek Awakenings Foundation

Chicago, Illinois

When I began therapy, I wasn’t painting. My dreams of being an artist were gone. My therapist asked me, “What did you want to be when you were little?” More…

The fisherman’s lasagna

Fisherman's Lasagna" healing dreamscape by Nancy Gershman.Nancy Gershman

Art For Your Sake

Chicago, Illinois

Lauren Lazar Stern, MA

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Can Sally, a 32-year old struggling with anorexia also be a responsible student nurse on an eating disorder unit? More…


"Anorexia" by Laura OlearLaura Olear

Chicago, Illinois

This series of mixed media drawings are abstracted from biological imagery. They explore issues of control of one’s own health in the form of self-inflicted conditions or diseases. More…


Just like that

Kanani Titchen

Thomas Jefferson University

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“Happy New Year!” a small voice squeaked out with soft exuberance. I looked up at the clock to see it was midnight, and my hands remained wrapped around the tortuous jejunum of a man I had never met. More…

Timekeeper by Vesna Jovanovic

The Gone-A-Gram

Joel L. Chinitz, MD

Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility Pennsylvania

Harry Crenshaw looked into the faces around the conference table. Why didn’t the hospital research committee take his project seriously? The study was valid and clinically applicable. Maybe Janine was right; he shouldn’t have called it “The Gone-A-Gram.” More…


Visualizing the human body through the ages

Philip K. Wilson, PhD

Penn State

Hershey, Pennsylvania

Cave paintings and terrestrial petroglyph commonly include crudely outlined human forms. At all ages and in every culture, people have constructed similar figures as their initial depictions of the human body, suggesting that in cultural and human development, a universal idea of the human form exists. More…

Historical reflections on cause, responsibility and blame in medicine

W.R. Albury, PhD

University of New England Armidale, Australia

In the early years of British settlement in Australia the colonial authorities regarded drunkenness as one of the major evils of the day. More…

I don’t know how it happened

Rae Brown, MD

University of Kentucky, Lexington

There are angels in every emergency room. They hear the laments of the doctors and nurses as they try to save a child. More…

When children die

Susan Woldenberg Butler

Canberra, Australia

Angus Easton died surrounded by loved ones who had done everything possible to ease his suffering. He was obviously the apple of his family’s eye, and no wonder. More…

The lesser of evils

Farrin A. Manian, MD, MPH

Infectious Diseases Consultants

St. Louis, Missouri

Before laying eyes on him, the nursing staff warned me that John was hinting about leaving the hospital no more than 24 hours after his admission. More…


Opening the body, opening to peace

Photography by Elena LevitskayaAmy D. Webb, PhD

Pawleys Island,

South Carolina

The Friday morning beginner yoga class started at 10:30. I had worked full-time until my breast cancer diagnosis a couple weeks ago, and until then it was almost impossible to attend this class. More…



Shira B. Ellenberg

Rush University

Chicago, Illinois

I have been providing care for this man since the morning. When he was still alive, writhing and heaving. He looked no different than he does now. More…


Therapeutic beauty

"Angel" by Abbott Handerson Thayer.Elizabeth Lee, PhD

Dickinson College

Carlisle, Pennsylvania

In the late 1880s, the painter Abbott Handerson Thayer (1849-1921) and his family began summering in rural Dublin, New Hampshire. More…

The castrati: a physician’s perspective

James L. Franklin, MD
Hektoen Institute of Medicine Chicago, Illinois

One often reads that these operations were done by “barber surgeons,” but they were performed by surgeons who represented the highest echelons of the medical profession. More…


On being a spousal caregiver

William D. Black, MD

Knoxville, Tennessee

When I was 55 years old, and had been in the private practice of Internal Medicine and Nephrology for 22 years, my wife Barbara was diagnosed with breast cancer. At the time of her diagnosis she already had widespread bony metastases. I took off work to take care of her. More…

Catching the edge

Mt. RainierLarry Zaroff, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Palo Alto, California

We get to the edge. We sometimes fall off, succumbing to disease, accident, or raw nature. If we are lucky, we catch ourselves or someone pulls us back. More…



Eliette Markhbein

Injuries clawing at freedom

I move in the backdrop of life

filled with unspent tears

arms heavy with renunciation

yet fighting to remain alive.


Eternal Rhythms by Eliette Markhbein

John A. Vanek, MD

Christmas lights of red and green

twinkle on the monitor,

flash pulse and pressure, proclaim

the baby in this crib will live

for now.


Richard D. Sontheimer, MD

He was a tall, thin, down-glancing man slumped low in a chair in the exam room corner.

His gray-haired wife sat primly next to him.


Ron Domen, MD

It is important to know the stories

that surround our conception.

But leave out the part about the hormone

surge that expands the cumulus cells


James B. Rickert, MD

They flock like crows, hawking for a bite of biscuit

Or bits of flesh. They caw with formulaic

Cadence and phrase



A short story

Jonathan Lewis, MD

Chicago, Illinois

Doctor, as I have told you many times, it is always good to see you because I feel better the moment I walk into your office. I have just finished writing a short story and I want to tell you about it. More…

End of season liquidation sale

Catalina Florina Florescu, PhD
St. Peter’s College, Jersey City, New Jersey

I saw before me a nightmare where bodies lay in a heap. Fixed like statues, their immobility belied their carnal appearance. I asked a nurse, why are these people piled like garbage? More…