A change of heart

A doctor’s visit, Anton Chekhov (1898) ‘I have palpitations of the heart’ she said, ‘It was so awful all night….I almost died of fright! Do give me something.’ ‘I will, I will; don’t worry yourself.’ Korolyov examined her and shrugged his shoulders. ‘The heart is all right’, he said; ‘it’s all going on satisfactorily; everything Read More …

Laugh ironic, laugh Byronic, laugh sardonic

27th May 1892 Three incidents have made me laugh to-day: the laugh ironic, the laugh Byronic, and the laugh sardonic! Firstly, on visiting an elderly patient who has suffered acutely for many years from a form of tic douloureux, I found her overjoyed at the wonderfully beneficial effects of some pills which I had prescribed. Read More …

In this room I had pronounced patients dead

When breath becomes air. It was my primary care doctor, calling with the chest X-ray result: my lungs, instead of being clear, looked blurry, as if the camera aperture had been left open too long. The doctor said she wasn’t sure what that meant. She likely knew what it meant. I knew. Lucy picked me Read More …

What did I gain in my training?

First, I had mastered the practical basis of my profession, the art and craft of Medicine, which begins and develops only after a man leaves University and Hospital. Secondly, I had endured an extremely severe training and initiation: the very best I could have had. It not only made one exact, punctual, and methodical; but Read More …

The last 1000 days

The last 1000 days, Molly Case Commentary As we slowly make the shift to practice realistic medicine, where “patients are at the centre of decision making”, it’s more important now to understand what’s truly important to those who are at the receiving end of medical care. The poem The last 1000 days is written in a language Read More …

Not everything is fair in health and war

Maternal Health in Afghanistan, Khalid Hosseini. Inside the old, dingy operating room, Laila lay on a gurney bed as the doctor scrubbed her hands in a basin. Laila was shivering. She drew in air through her teeth every time the nurse wiped her belly with a cloth soaked in a yellow-brown liquid. Another nurse stood Read More …