Musing of a Contemporary Pathologist
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Thoughts on One More Birthday

Contrary to T.S. Eliot, April is definitely not—at least for me—the cruelest month. To the contrary, April has always meant springtime, sunshine, light rains (“ … April showers bring May flowers …”) and the promise of summer warmth and vacations. My mother was in labor struggling to deliver me for more than two days. Finally, on Wednesday, April 26, 1939, I entered the world weighing almost 9.5 pounds,...

Peter, Paul and Mary

Last week, my wife, Kate, and I went to hear a concert given by Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey. The night of February 17 was miserable because of a ferocious, record-breaking rainstorm and high winds. We started out for the 8:00 PM concert at 3:30 PM for three reasons: the terrible weather conditions, the fact that it was a Friday (which means horrendous late afternoon traffic in Los Angeles), and because it was...

Medical Trivia #2: Cyrano de Bergerac and microscopy

In 1897 the French poet and dramatist, Edmond Eugène Alexis Rostand (1868-1918) wrote what would be his most popular work, the romantic play Cyrano de Bergerac. Rostand was born in Marseille and his father was a renowned economist and poet. Rostand studied literature, philosophy and history at the Collège Stanislas in Paris. Initially devoted to writing comedies, in mid-career he wrote a number of serious plays,...

Laufer’s Rules with Comments

Igor Laufer (1944-2010) was a distinguished, renowned and beloved gastrointestinal radiologist at the University of Pennsylvania, largely responsible for the development and refinement of double-contrast barium studies of the GI tract. Igor and I first met in the early 1980’s at a conference devoted to inflammatory bowel diseases where I was chairing a multispecialty (e.g., surgeons, gastroenterologists,...

Medical Trivia #1: Sutton’s Law

There are many “laws” in science reflecting past observations and scientific proofs that have been shown to be either completely true or at least highly reliable. Many of these laws bear someone’s name. Some required understanding of complex scientific principles or refined mathematical reasoning to develop. Sutton’s law, in contrast, is based on logic, common sense and experience. In high school physics...

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