fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

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fostering the humanistic practice of medicine publishing personal accounts of illness and healing encouraging health care advocacy

Close this search box.

October 2013


Richard Weiss

He waited, sandwiched between an angular
housewife with a cough and an accountant
whose clothing draped his skeletal frame.
When we first met he was much younger,

bearded, heavily tattooed, dressed in black,
his bulk dwarfing my consultation room,
a school custodian recovering after a painful
divorce from a guitar-playing, nose-pierced wife

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B Lapointe Ataerna



Bernard Lapointe

About the artist: 

Bernard Lapointe is a palliative-care physician in Montreal. “After a few years as a family physician, at the dawn of the AIDS epidemic in Montreal, I found my practice very rapidly transforming from a downtown STD practice to palliative care. I still remember, vividly, those years: the pain, the dynamic communities rising to the challenge, the creativity of the various artists fueling the fight. The slogan was ‘Silence = Death,’ and our voices did not allow for silence. Caring for the terminally ill year after year carries its price. The urge to live fully today, to expand beyond my limitations and shortsightedness, has allowed me to outgrow the sorrow. This is why my camera and photography became so important in my life, allowing me to transcend the harsh reality of illness by first reconnecting with life, through wildlife and garden photography.”

About the artwork:

” ‘Aeterna’ is from a series titled Elysion, shot in the cemeteries of Mont-Royal during a couple of good snowstorms.

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Checking Boxes

Regina Harrell

I am a primary-care doctor who makes house calls in and around Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Most of my visits are in neighborhoods, but today my rounds start at a house located down a dirt road a few miles outside of town.

Gingerly, I cross the front walk; Mrs. Edgars told me that she killed a rattlesnake in her flowerbed last year.

She is at the door, expecting my visit. Mr. Edgars sits on the couch, unable to recall that I am his doctor, or even that I am a doctor, but happy to see me nonetheless.

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A Different Kind of Miracle

Anita Fry

Once upon a time, I was a newspaper journalist: I chased down sources and sweated over deadlines. Then, in mid-career, I switched to doing marketing and communications for a regional healthcare system. This consisted of a large hospital and many outpatient clinics, including a community cancer center.

Because I handled communications work for the cancer center, I also had a seat on the Cancer Committee–an oversight group of oncologists, pathologists, nurses and other specialists, who met quarterly.

I found these gatherings a bit intimidating. My fellow members were welcoming, but they spoke almost entirely in acronyms and medical jargon–“OCNs,” “PET/CTs,” “staging,” “linear accelerators.”

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Dying Woman

Gary Hoff

About the artist:

I am Associate Professor of Medicine at the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine where I have taught cardiology for many years. My career as an artist runs in parallel with my career in medicine. My work is primarily in oils and consists of commissioned portraits as well as landscapes and still life.


About the artwork:

Dying Woman is a portrait of my mother during the last month of her life, as she was dying of metastatic lung cancer. The drawing is in an old medium called silverpoint, which was the method used by old master painters long before graphite. It allows a precise but unerasable line to be laid down, so that the artist’s unfiltered first impressions always remain. Over time, silverpoint drawings mellow from dark and harsh to golden, in the same way that memories can.”


Visuals editor:

Justin Sanders


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