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Harvey Cushing's ghosts: death and hauntings in modern medicine.

Shin P - Yale J Biol Med (2011)

Bottom Line: The passing of Yale School of Medicine's 2010 Bicentennial occasions a moment of reflecting on the past, present, and future of medical education and research at Yale and beyond.Named after Harvey Cushing, an early 20th-century neurosurgeon and former Yale College alum, the dual education/exhibition space now houses hundreds of gross brain specimens constituting the Cushing Tumor Registry.The brains express Cushing's singular and spectral worldview as a surgeon, artist, athlete, soldier, book collector, and historian.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of History of Science/History of Medicine, Yale University, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA. paul.shin@yale.edu

ABSTRACT
The passing of Yale School of Medicine's 2010 Bicentennial occasions a moment of reflecting on the past, present, and future of medical education and research at Yale and beyond. Last June, a ribbon-cutting ceremony inaugurated the opening of the Cushing Center in the Cushing-Whitney Medical Library. Named after Harvey Cushing, an early 20th-century neurosurgeon and former Yale College alum, the dual education/exhibition space now houses hundreds of gross brain specimens constituting the Cushing Tumor Registry. Originally a personal collection, Cushing donated his numerous medical specimens, photographs, and other medical relics from his deathbed, relinquishing the brains to Yale only under the condition that a suitable space be erected to preserve the many specimens. Some 70 years later and after nearly being destroyed, Cushing's wish is fully realized: The once desiccated, hidden brains have been painstakingly restored and are now on view in the Cushing Center. The brains express Cushing's singular and spectral worldview as a surgeon, artist, athlete, soldier, book collector, and historian.

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Harvey Cushing, Study Nature Not Books.
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Figure 13: Harvey Cushing, Study Nature Not Books.

Mentions: Cushing and his patients experienced an inter-personal relationship that deepened as a result of acknowledging and confronting death. As Mr. Wolbach’s experience suggests, attending to both well was an important element of Cushing’s humanistic doctoring. Hauntings and ghosts, with their liminal associations in the world of both living and dead, may have served as an apt metaphor ― if not more ― for the ways in which Cushing cared for his patients. Yet in his insistence on representing brains with brains, he sought out a medium more expressive than text or image alone to preserve and express the ghostlier side of medicine ― the way death and modernity haunt the clinician (Figure 13).


Harvey Cushing's ghosts: death and hauntings in modern medicine.

Shin P - Yale J Biol Med (2011)

Harvey Cushing, Study Nature Not Books.
© Copyright Policy - open access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3117422&req=5

Figure 13: Harvey Cushing, Study Nature Not Books.
Mentions: Cushing and his patients experienced an inter-personal relationship that deepened as a result of acknowledging and confronting death. As Mr. Wolbach’s experience suggests, attending to both well was an important element of Cushing’s humanistic doctoring. Hauntings and ghosts, with their liminal associations in the world of both living and dead, may have served as an apt metaphor ― if not more ― for the ways in which Cushing cared for his patients. Yet in his insistence on representing brains with brains, he sought out a medium more expressive than text or image alone to preserve and express the ghostlier side of medicine ― the way death and modernity haunt the clinician (Figure 13).

Bottom Line: The passing of Yale School of Medicine's 2010 Bicentennial occasions a moment of reflecting on the past, present, and future of medical education and research at Yale and beyond.Named after Harvey Cushing, an early 20th-century neurosurgeon and former Yale College alum, the dual education/exhibition space now houses hundreds of gross brain specimens constituting the Cushing Tumor Registry.The brains express Cushing's singular and spectral worldview as a surgeon, artist, athlete, soldier, book collector, and historian.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of History of Science/History of Medicine, Yale University, 333 Cedar Street, New Haven, CT 06510, USA. paul.shin@yale.edu

ABSTRACT
The passing of Yale School of Medicine's 2010 Bicentennial occasions a moment of reflecting on the past, present, and future of medical education and research at Yale and beyond. Last June, a ribbon-cutting ceremony inaugurated the opening of the Cushing Center in the Cushing-Whitney Medical Library. Named after Harvey Cushing, an early 20th-century neurosurgeon and former Yale College alum, the dual education/exhibition space now houses hundreds of gross brain specimens constituting the Cushing Tumor Registry. Originally a personal collection, Cushing donated his numerous medical specimens, photographs, and other medical relics from his deathbed, relinquishing the brains to Yale only under the condition that a suitable space be erected to preserve the many specimens. Some 70 years later and after nearly being destroyed, Cushing's wish is fully realized: The once desiccated, hidden brains have been painstakingly restored and are now on view in the Cushing Center. The brains express Cushing's singular and spectral worldview as a surgeon, artist, athlete, soldier, book collector, and historian.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus