The Evening Has Arrived

AQUI NO HAY VIEJOS SOLO NOS LLEGO LA TARDE The You Tube video of this poem is worth watching. This moving poem for elderly adults is recited by the vivacious 102-year-old lady: María Cristina Camilo. Dominican actress and broadcaster (b. 12.25.1918) Translated from the Spanish by Brian Maurer Here there are no old ones;It’s only that the evening has arrived for us:An evening weighted with experience—Experience to offer advice.Here there are no old ones;It’s only that the evening has arrived for us.Old is the sea,And it rises up like a giant;Old is the sun,And it warms us.Old is the moon,And it enlightens us;Old is the earth,And it gives us life.Love … Continue reading

Vaseline, Slugging and TikTok Docs

Videntium cave Vaseline, Slugging and TikTok Docs Makayla Power David J. Elpern Keywords, Vaseline, Aquaphor, CeraVe, social media, TikToc, xerosis, social influencers For 150 years, people been coating their faces and other body surfaces with Vaseline®, the ubiquitous, cheap, commonplace product that was awarded Patent No. 127,568, on June 4, 1872.1  It is such a useful product that,  tongue-in-cheek, we call it Vitamin V. In a parallel universe, great masses of people are hearing about expanded, anecdotal uses for Vaseline®. One, in particular, “slugging,” is being plugged on the video-focused social networking service TikTok.  Launched in 2017, TikTok hosts a variety of short-form user-videos for iOS and Android devices in … Continue reading

Functional Dermatological Symptoms: Hiding in plain sight

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy. – Hamlet (1.5.167-8) By David J. Elpern, M.D.The Skin Clinic 12 Meadow Street, Williamstown, MA Keywords: medically unexplained symptoms, medically unexplained dermatological symptoms, MUDS, functional symptoms, dermatology All dermatologists see patients with complaints that defy definitive medical diagnosis.  They consult us with hopes for a conclusive diagnosis and treatment, or even just for someone to listen to their symptoms with a supportive ear. Some of our patients have baffling, unexplained symptoms often related to cutaneous pain, pruritus, unexplained skin sensations or excoriations.   These patients frequently have other symptoms: headaches, chest pain, gastrointestinal disorders, … Continue reading

Cancel Me

By Arthur Lazarus, MD, MBA* Cancel me Go ahead Cancel meAcademics despise my remarksMisinterpreted just like Karl Marx Cancel meGo aheadCancel meCall me Republican, call me DemocratRegister me a scientific zealot Cancel me Go ahead Cancel me My intention was to start a debateWhat resulted were claims of hate Cancel me Go ahead Cancel meMy comments (out of context) appeared to condemnApparently, I’ve lost the right to say them Cancel me Go ahead Cancel meYou’ve won the satisfactionOf demanding a retraction (lest I face sanction) Cancel me Go ahead Cancel meCertainly, you’ve seen my flawsAm I not allowed to have a cause? Cancel me Go ahead Cancel meMy ideas were … Continue reading

The Inaugural Oslers

The Inaugural Oslers of Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India: Then and Now by Dr P Ravi Shankar MBBS, MD, FAIMER Fellow, MAoME * In mid-2019 I received a WhatsApp message from a former classmate inviting me to join a group of my former medical school classmates. At our alma mater, the Government Medical College, Thrissur, Kerala, India each intake of students was named after a famous personality in medicine. We were the inaugural Oslers named after Sir William Osler. Kerala, God’s own country? Over the next week I exchanged notes and reconnected with my classmates. We had spent over six years of our life together. Now nearly everyone was married … Continue reading

Helen Salisbury – Expressing Empathy

BMJ March 4, 2022 This is a short, helpful essay by an eminent British G.P. All of us can benefit from it. Se writes: “I spent many years as a medical teacher attempting to coach students in the art of empathy. Some needed very little prompting, instinctively knowing what to say and when to say nothing while just sitting quietly. Others were on a longer journey, needing pointers about what to actively avoid and practice in being comfortable with silence.” Available Free Full Text from the BMJ. If the link does not work for you, email DJE and I’ll send you a pdf.

Ode To The Skin Check

by Phyllis Klein* For my dermatologist, Dr. E.G. Oh splendid skin, major organ unashamed,external, interweaving of warp and wefton loom of a body. Familiar with cancers,this skin, sensitive, too close to the sun, burned with ultraviolet ghosts of rays haunting its surface when adolescents on picnics at beaches wouldn’t be caught dead with umbrellas. Days of bare heads, before invention of sunscreen, days of baby-oil with iodine and sun reflecting foilsrecommended to increase the tan that never came. Only blisters, scales, pomegranate colored burns. Aloe lotions, Noxemas melting into scalded expanse. Do not forget meand what I have to say. Oh splendid skin check, dermatologist peeringinto skin’s finished fabric for … Continue reading

The world shut down

By Elise Danielle Machrone* The pandemic hit, the world shut downWhat should do stuck in my town?At first we smiled, gave high fivesNott knowing how long we we’d be trapped in our hives One case, two cases, three cases, fourWe wondered how many more?My grandma has Covid, does yours too?We didn’t know what to do People at home cooking new foods In hospitals a national emergency ensued I was cocooned in numbing silenceDoctors tried to understand pandemic science Restaurant dining’s not resumed College lectures only Zoomed Get tested, vaccinated, boosted too What’s all this supposed to do? So now we’re here Still much to fearWill we ever get out? What … Continue reading


by Vivian J. Hua*   Beneath our fingertips, your bruises ripen under lamplight.We offer you small morselsof grief – you takeinside your mouth.You offer usyour wound –Inside, the soul soaks in silence.Your body closes.We, who can offer younothing but facilitationsof pain, sit quietly amongthe whirring machines.Meaningless gods, we thinkof tombs. Vivian Hua is a 5th year medical student at Stanford School of Medicine. She is pursuing a career in dermatology and is passionate about the intersection between dermatology and the medical humanities. Email:

The EMT, the Woman, and her Ankle

By David Williams* Abstract: An aged EMT learns that emergency medicine consists of more than controlling hemorrhage, dispensing nitroglycerin, and splinting bones. Occasionally, he finds that leading an active life yields rewards that cannot readily be measured. A Spartan race, a young woman, an injured ankle, and an aged EMT. Note the adjective: aged. I am not a young man. I am also an EMT. I got into the field really late. I got my EMT license at a time in life when most people in the field have left it decades ago for something better paid and less rigorous. I started my career at a point when most people … Continue reading

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