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Medical Humanities

Fearn Sanatorium, Shanghai, 1932

Christopher Magoon

February 24, 2019

“One of my dearest friends is a charming women whose appendix I removed on top of a mountain just at dawn after one of the worst storms I have ever experienced.”

- Dr. Anne Walter Fearn

Excerpt from My Days of Strength: An American Woman Doctor’s Forty Years in China, published in 1939.

They gave me a heart,

But I took the rest.  


Now I live with dragons on doors

And plum silk robes.


This place has my daughter

In the ground.

The Good Earth

Also myself,

And in the quiet moments,

There are no quiet moments,

Just a trough

Traveling forward



And will rise again


To find me in places:  palaces and brothels,

A trove

To catch the scream

of blue lungs,

echoes from her country.


The heart they gave me

Didn’t fit.

So I gave it to a man and a land.

Myself a castle; as they.


I dissected his Bible,

Isaiah vs the scalpel.

My name is Typhoon;

I had to go.


I left as a doctor

And I came as a doctor to

My Own Country

Sending boys to barbed ends in Argonne.


They sent me back, a woman:


To China

To walk among bound feet.

But I am emancipated

from the Mississippi heat,

Here, I treat.

Editor's Commentary


Originally from Canton, Ohio, Christopher Magoon is a fourth-year medical student at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine applying into psychiatry. He recently returned from a year off Fulbright research grant studying Mandarin and Public Health.  Before medical school, Christopher worked for a rural education non-profit in China and was a freelance writer. Those interested can contact him on Twitter at @c_magoon or on his website