I found recently a small binder of medical notes that seem to have been recorded by a student or maybe an intern of some sort at Boston City Hospital in the mid-1940s. Neatly divided into sections—Drugs, Gyn/Obs, Psych, Neur, Ortho/Fract, and Skin—they occasionally include a date and the names of different physicians.
The largest section of the notebook treats psychology. At times it seems to offer a history of psychology—at one point the author noted “Ψ The Giants” and listed a handful of names and short histories of each—while at other times it seems a more pragmatic set of guidelines. The Direct and Indirect psychological exam is a great example of this.
The Direct Exam guidelines include:
- Gen. appearance + Behavior
- Stream of Talk + activity
- Content + Preoccupation
- Sensorium + Intellect
- Contributory Exams
- Tx + Rx
On the following page we find “HISTORY—The Indirect Exam:”, which seems to be a form of patient history that includes such things as “thumb sucking,” “fears of the dark,” “school record,” “sex fantasies and dreams and their autoerotic, homo and heterosexual features” and “fears of pregnancy.”
Occasionally, the person added detailed, colored illustrations:
Other times, the person concentrated more on doodling than illustrating:
The section “Ortho/Frac” was rather short, running only a handful of pages.
Tucked into the back cover were three leaflets from Boston City Hospital offering information about different skin diseases. Two prescriptions seemed to deal with eye problems.
I don’t know what to make of these notes and so offer them without further comment.