Hierarchies of Care in Quarantine

Sara Press // In early June, the New York City Department of Health confirmed that the first dog in the United States had tested positive for Covid-19.[1] Few details were known about the dog beyond his location, his breed, and his prognosis—it was believed he would recover. However, on July 11th, the details of this…

The Intimacy of Storytelling in Isolation

Sara Press // In 1347, a plague descended upon Italy on the backs of rats dismounting ships at the Sicilian Port of Messina. The Bubonic Plague, better known as the “Black Death,” tore through Europe and the Middle East over the following years, leaving millions of civilians dead in its wake. In 1348, a group…

The Shifting Politics of Diagnosis: From Problem Patients to Niche Consumers

Sara Press // In 1851, the prominent American surgeon and psychologist Dr. Samuel A. Cartwright published an alarming report in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: a disease had become increasingly prevalent among the South’s Black population and was causing slaves to run away from their white masters.[1] Cartwright coined this disease “drapetomania.” While the…

The Empathy Exams Revisited

Sara Press // On Saturday, May 5th, 2018, I went in to the BC Children’s Hospital to see a doctor about a lump in my neck. It might seem strange that a twenty-seven-year-old was going to a Children’s Hospital. Perhaps even stranger that I was seen by fifteen medical residents that day, and had to…

From Norma and Normman to Kim and Caitlyn

Sara Press// In the summer of 1945, a very average couple, who would come to embody the ideals of American society, emerged into the public eye. Brought to life by Abram Belskie and Robert Latou Dickinson, the Cleveland Health Museum debuted the sculptures of Norma and Normman as “A Portrait of the American People.” Strong…