The Fault in His Scars

A bus driver recovers from oral cancer and a broken heart at a palliative hospital in India. And a physician reflects on the ways in which suffering shapes identity.

To Spear a Glass Animal

A medical student writes a 1980’s power-ballad to her heavy metal-listening art teacher: a single father and glass blower named Moe. Images of molten glass hint evoke the fires of hell…and the demons that await Moe when he loses his health insurance.

The Hanabiko Exam: Meeting Koko

A psychiatric researcher builds human connection with his subject—a famous, 280 pound gorilla—and then offends her with an ill-timed Freudian slip.

Meeting Moussa

A Viennese psychiatrist interviews Moussa, an unaccompanied Somali minor at Austria’s biggest refugee camp. Attempting to research resilience, our narrator instead discovers alienation: from her work, her family, her country—everything, really, but her patient.

In Photographs

In her prime, our narrator’s mother was creative, independent…and sometimes absent. Now she has late stage dementia, and her daughter must rescue her—if not in body, then in the memories attached to her collection of yellowing photographs.

Crossing the Line

An American army surgeon in Vietnam is asked to repair a young Vietnamese man’s brachial plexus—and quickly realizes that he, like his army, has gotten in over his head.

Narration and Identity

An Austrian child psychiatrist presents three memorable cases—a childbirth near a Nazi training grounds; a psychotic mother’s reunion with her newborn; and a developmentally delayed 8 year old’s therapeutic transformation—which make the case for storytelling as the basis for identity formation.

A Good Day

A radiologist deconstructs a highly-restrictive genre—the radiology report—and then transcends it by writing in the first person. In the process, he grapples with uncertainty in medicine and strives to clinch a “zebra” diagnosis.