Volume 3, Issue 1

Feature articles – African vignettes

Of starlit huts and Sahelian sand

hut and gourdSara Buck, RN

Chicago, Illinois

Landing in Dakar airport, the Air Afrique flight from New York hummed into the humid night air. More…

What God gives: prayers from Africa

Marcia Whitney-Schenck

Chicago, Illinois

Rev. David Ambola from Cameroon has remarked that Africans are incurably religious. For many, religion permeates every aspect of their lives… More…

Found in translation?

Danielle Ofri, MD, PhD
New York, New York

“Je m’a…,” I stuttered to Aristede Mezondes, the serious young man in a grey wool overcoat, standing before me with ramrod posture. More…


Art and medicine

Artful science

Julie Schnidman &

Annie Yeh, Chicago, Illinois

Three artist/scientists from the Chicago area engage in a discussion about scientific artfulness and artful science. More…

Dreams of healing

Rev. Kari Lindholm-Johnson, Chicago, Illinois

Dreams of healing invited patients, families of patients, and healthcare providers to visually express what it meant to them to dream in the face of illness. More…

The anatomy of beauty

Alan W. Bates, MD, PhD
London, United Kingdom

Few characteristics seem more subjective and less amenable to scientific study than beauty. More…


Doctors’ stories

The god that I know

Rae Brown, MD

Lexington, Kentucky

Our days are filled with difficult decisions in which our desires to treat and cure are thwarted by forces outside the sphere of physiology and anatomy. More…


Larry Zaroff, MD, PhD

Palo Alto, California

David Michener is a psychiatrist. He is also the father of three children, each of whom has a progressive, incurable neurological disease… More…

Those eyes

Susan Woldenberg Butler
Canberra, Australia

My intuition once saved a farmer’s wife but let me down as the life of her neighbor slipped away. I should have known. All the signs were there. I hate guns. More…


Dr. Emily Gregory-Roberts

Sydney, Australia

The list on the ER computer screen displayed that the first patient was Gavin Hunt with an anal abscess. The second was Holly Bester with a vaginal abscess. More…


Medical history

The remarkable Baldwin IV

Dr. John J. Turner

Liverpool, United Kingdom

Medieval teen king, precocious politician, and successful battlefield commander, Baldwin IV not only surmounted disabling neurological impairment but challenged the stigma of leprosy… More…

Chopin’s heart

Wilfred Niels Arnold, PhD

Kansas City, Kansas

Chopin was born near Warsaw, Poland in 1810. From 1831 he lived mostly in France, where he achieved international acclaim for his music despite a debilitating and life-shortening illness. More…

Albrecht Dürer’s Praying hands

W.R. Albury, PhD, &

George M. Weisz, MD

New South Wales, Australia

Praying Hands has been the subject of many descriptions and much speculation about the intentions of the artist and the source of the hands he depicts. More…


Reflections on nursing

Nursing diagnoses

Mat Matteson, LPN &

Geraldine Gorman, RN, PhD

Chicago, Illinois

Ah, the end of the semester. In the best of times it hauls with it taunting deadlines… More…

Morning note

Jeanne Bryner, RN
Warren, Ohio

In a few moments I’ll let you read the note my husband wrote this morning
while I was sleeping, dreaming maybe of what I’d fix for supper,

Portrait of nursing

Lynda Slimmer, PhD, RN

Chicago, Illinois

Using your mind’s eye, imagine a painting that my husband and I bought several years ago in the Smokey Mountains. More…


Philosophy and ethics

A good bedside manner

Richard P. Holm, MD

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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 technology while forgetting about the value of a caring bedside manner. More…

Meaning and the cognitive default

Basil Brooke, PhD

Johannesburg, South Africa

Being human invariably involves a strong tendency to search for meaning in life. This search takes many forms… More…

The human condition

Patrick D. Guinan, MD, MPH
Chicago, Illinois

The human condition is the “totality of the experiences of being human and living human lives.” This idea has occupied philosophers from the beginning, but more recently has been examined as an aspect of existentialism. More…


Doctor-patient relationship

Blind date

Anthony Papagiannis, MD
Thessaloniki, Greece

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… More…

A fortunate man

Martin Duke, MD
Mystic, Connecticut

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. More…

Research subject

Eric P. Cohen, MD

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Much has been written on clinical research and its societal benefit. But research can also confer unexpected individual benefits, as shown in Mrs. G, the recipient of a kidney transplant. More…


Public health

Disciplinary architecture

Niyi Awofeso, PhD
Perth, Australia

Creating the built environment draws on multiple disciplines, including architecture and law. Prisons and their variants are built environments whose intended purpose is punishment, deterrence, rehabilitation and incapacitation. More…

Rice and reason

Wendy J. Gu
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

In Chinese cuisine, the savory meat and vegetable dishes require plain white rice to balance the flavors and textures of the entire meal. This traditional culinary staple is not without risks… More…



Jeanne Bryner

That we may all live to see
where God drives His hot pink go cart,
some piece of land facing both hills,
an ocean sunset, banana muffins cooling
on a sill.


Aubrie Lee

The pulse of breath and electricity,
The luminous reflex of a colored shutter,
The heat exuded through their scrubs and gloves
Proves the intricacy of a species of machinery
That I once was.


Helen Montague Foster

5 AM: I’ve coffee-stained my intern
whites. Remember OR shadow
movies behind sheets? Can a girl
walk point? The Viet Cong
nightmares don’t belong to me.



Reflections on breast cancer

An evolving journey

Amy D. Webb, PhD

Pawleys Island, South Carolina

It started simply enough. Soon after my diagnosis, a friend and fellow breast cancer survivor counseled me about protecting a space for healing. More…

Breast cancer suite

Terri Kirby Erickson
Lewisville, North Carolina

She walks home from the doctor’s office
down a tree-lined sidewalk, her face
dappled with light. More…


Personal narratives

Down a rabbit hole

Eli Cannon, MD
Escondido, California

The voice is barely audible. Is that because Iris is upstairs in her room and I’m downstairs reading in the living room? Or is it because…? I drop my book and run upstairs. More…

Doctors like eponymity

Dr. Denis Gill
Dublin, Ireland

I must confess to liking medical eponyms. As a medical student in 1960s Dublin, we were taught the names of famous Irish physicians of the Georgian period (1780-1840), a time when Dublin was famed for its bedside teaching. More…


Medicine and literature: book excerpt

The doctor in literature: the abortion and the abortionist

Solomon Posen, MD
Sydney, Australia

The clinical scenario of a physician confronted by a desperate woman begging for a termination of her pregnancy is extremely common in the real world. The associated ethical dilemma is mentioned in the Hippocratic Oath,together with specific instructions concerning the doctor’s response. This paper presents a portrayal of doctors in the context of unwanted pregnancies, as described in works of fiction, mainly dating from the last 100 years. More…