Thoughts about “Countering Creeping Confusion”

by Richard Ratzan, M.D. Dr. Ratzan was a Classics major at Trinity College whose early publication as a medical student was on the Greek word for herpes (see reference # 8 in his attached letter). THE EDITOR kindly asked me to comment on an unusual paper suggesting we rename Herpes virus “Habita virus”, a paper imaginatively conceived, adroitly executed and very well written.[^1] In it, the authors evince four reasons to support their suggestion: lack of congruence between the etymological history of “herpes” and its dermatological appearance; sociological and psychological stigma; potential confusion concerning first the different herpetic diseases and second an unrelated virus, Hepeviridae, a virus associated with diseases … Continue reading


Longing to Belong

Nor cast one longing lingering look behind Thomas Gray, Elegy in a Country Churchyard by Richard Ratzan, M.D. Abstract: On the eve of retirement after 45 years as a physician, the author reflects on a lifelong inclusion in medicine, from early childhood days as the son of a medical couple to a career in emergency medicine. He anticipates with dread the day when he will no longer belong in the ranks of those who are unquestionably healers. Keywords: retirement, profession, collegiality, nostalgia, autobiography, clinical medicine, emergency medicine Two years ago I walked out of my emergency department ending 43 years as an employed academic physician. Although I realized at the … Continue reading

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