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Nineteenth-Century Women Physicians and the Writing of Medicine
Rediscovers women doctors who helped create styles of medical writing still used today -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- In the last decades of the nineteenth century, two thousand women physicians formed a significant and lively scientific community in the United States. Many were active writers; they participated in the development of medical record-keeping and research, and they wrote self-help books, social and political essays, fiction, and poetry. Out of the Dead House rediscovers the contributions these women made to the developing practice of medicine and to a community of women in science. Susan Wells combines studies of medical genres, such as the patient history or the diagnostic conversation, with discussions of individual writers. The women she discusses include Ann Preston, the first woman dean of a medical college; Hannah Longshore, a successful practitioner who combined conventional and homeopathic medicine; Rebecca Crumpler, the first African American woman physician to publish a medical book; and Mary Putnam Jacobi, writer of more than 180 medical articles and several important books. Wells shows how these women learned to write, what they wrote, and how these texts were read. Out of the Dead House also documents the ways that women doctors influenced medical discourse during the formation of the modern profession. They invented forms and strategies for medical research and writing, including methods of using survey information, taking patient histories, and telling case histories. Out of the Dead House adds a critical episode to the developing story of women as producers and critics of culture, including scientific culture. "A highly original contribution to studies of the relationship between gender, medicine, and science, offering fresh insights regarding the entrance of women into the medical profession. Wells's nuanced story will appeal to literary scholars, medical historians, and all readers interested in revisiting this complex and rewarding terrain."--Regina Morantz-Sanchez, author of Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn Susan Wells is professor of English at Temple University. She is the author of Sweet Reason: Rhetoric and the Discourses of Modernity and The Dialectics of Representation.
Heart operations today are quite common and relatively low-risk, but in the beginning it was just the opposite. Cardiac operations were reserved for desperately ill patients. The author documents this dramatic transition with profiles of 38 surgeons who were active between 1940 and 1985.
The profiles are edited transcripts of interviews videotaped between 1996 and 2004. They tell of the development of new techniques such as the "blue baby operation," the first heart-lung machine, the first artificial heart valve, and the first coronary bypass operation. They also tell the unusual life stories of the surgeons and allude to professional and institutional rivalries. A particularly valuable part of the book is the author's brief history of cardiac surgery, designed to orient the reader for reading the profiles that follow.
A Short History of a Genetic Disease
PKU (phenylketonuria) is a genetic disorder that causes severe cognitive impairment if it is not detected and treated with a strict and difficult diet. In a lifetime of practice, most physicians will never encounter a single case of PKU, yet every physician in the industrialized world learns about the disease in medical school and, since the early 1960s, the newborn heel stick test for PKU has been mandatory in many countries. Diane B. Paul and Jeffrey P. Brosco’s beautifully written book explains this paradox. The development of state programs for early detection of and treatment for PKU is deservedly considered a great public health success story. Advocates have traded on this success to urge expanded newborn screening, to defend basic research in genetics, and to confront proponents of genetic determinism. When deployed for these purposes, treatment for PKU is typically represented as a simple matter of adhering to a low-phenylalanine diet. In reality, the challenges of living with PKU are daunting. In this first general history of PKU, a historian and a pediatrician explore how a rare genetic disease became the object of an unprecedented system for routine testing. The PKU Paradox is informed by interviews with scientists, clinicians, policy makers, and individuals who live with the disease. The questions it raises touch on ongoing controversies about newborn screening and what happens to blood samples collected at birth.
People and bubonic plague have a long and tragic history. When health officials in San Francisco thought they discovered plague in their city’s Chinatown in 1900, they responded with intrusive, controlling, and arbitrary measures that touched off a sociocultural clash still relevant today. Guenter B. Risse’s history of this epidemic features the tale of desperately ill Wong Chut King, believed to be the initial person infected, and is the first to incorporate the voices of those living in Chinatown at the time. Lasting until 1904, the plague in San Francisco's Chinatown reignited racial prejudices, re-sparked efforts to remove the Chinese from their district, and created new tensions among local, state, and federal public health officials quarreling over the presence of the deadly disease. Risse's rich, nuanced narrative of the event draws from a variety of sources, including Chinese-language news reports and other accounts. He addresses the ecology of Chinatown, the approaches taken by Chinese and Western medical practitioners, and the effects of quarantine plans on Chinatown and its residents. Risse explains how the presence of plague threatened California’s agricultural economy and San Francisco’s leading commercial role with Asia, discusses why it brought on a wave of fear mongering that drove perceptions and intervention efforts, and describes how Chinese residents organized and successfully opposed government quarantines and evacuation plans in federal court. In probing public health interventions in the context of one of the most visible ethnic communities in United States history, Plague, Fear, and Politics in San Francisco’s Chinatown offers insight into the clash of Eastern and Western cultures in a time of medical emergency.