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Jan 2012

Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Syphilis

Arch Dermatol. 2012;148(1):78. doi:10.1001/archdermatol.2011.323

Immediately after Mikhail Afanasievich Bulgakov (1891-1940) finished his medical studies in 1916, he was ordered to run a rural hospital near Smolensk, Russia. His experience with more than 15  000 patients, seen within 1 year, is described in A Country Doctor's Notebook.1 In the story “The Speckled Rash, ” he masterly portrays his confrontation with syphilis. Prompted by intuition, he investigates the skin of a man who is about 40 years old: