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medical history



  • The Religious History of Caesarean Surgery and the Abortion Debate

    by Elizabeth O'Brien

    In the 18th century, priests in Spanish colonies in the Americas were required to perform Caesaran operations on pregnant women whose own lives were beyond saving in order to baptize their fetuses, helping to develop the Catholic doctrine that the unborn already had souls. 



  • How did this Level of Death Become Normal?

    In absolute and relative terms, The United States has fared horribly in the coronavirus pandemic. Historians and social scientists help writer Ed Yong explain why the nation meets mass death with a collective shrug. 



  • Was the Black Death Less Severe and Shorter than We Think?

    by Adam Izdebski, Alessia Masi and Timothy P. Newfield

    "While no two pandemics are the same, the study of the past can help us discover where to look for our own vulnerabilities and how to best prepare for future outbreaks. To begin to do that, though, we need to reassess past epidemics with all the evidence we can."


  • New York Survived the 1832 Cholera Epidemic

    by Daniel S. Levy

    The 1832 Cholera epidemic roiled New York, terrorizing the city across lines of class and neighborhood. Today, the city's resilience can be a source of encouragement, but also a caution that today's pandemic won't be the last. 



  • Wishful Thinking on COVID is as Dangerous as Prior Episodes of Denial

    by Gregg Gonsalves

    A convergence has emerged between the right and the center that the Omicron variant is the last hurrah of the COVID pandemic and a signal to go back to "normal." A public health scholar warns this is potentially sacrificing the vulnerable to the wishes of the powerful.



  • Black History Month Celebrates Medicine and Health

    Marvin Dulaney, president of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) says that the racial health disparities highlighted by the pandemic make this year's focus on medical pioneers and health advocates particularly appropriate. 



  • What Will We Remember of 2022?

    by Tom Engelhardt

    The response to the pandemic shows how the contemporary American urge toward nation un-building has returned home. 


  • In Critical Ways, the 1918 Flu Remains a Forgotten Pandemic

    by George Dehner

    The news has made many comparisons between the current pandemic and the 1918 influenza – especially the grim milestones of infections and deaths – but it's clear that lessons about public policy and public health practices based on the failures of the past remain unlearned.



  • America as a “Shining City on a Hill”—and Other Myths to Die By

    by Gregg Gonsalves

    "Our relationship to disease, to pandemics past, is obscured by this myth of fundamental American goodness. If we accept that we are capable of barbarity, official cruelty, these myths shatter and leave us with a national story that is far more complicated to tell, a legacy to work against."