Hurricane Taxi Sketch

About the Artwork

“As a medical student, I began sketching patients and jotting snippets of our dialogue as a way to spend a few extra moments with them and to focus more closely on their expressions. I drew on whatever paper was at hand–a prescription blank, a wrapper for latex gloves, a scratch pad from a drug company or a local business (in this case from ‘Hurricane Taxi,’ made during my family medicine residency in Miami). These drawings bring back the essence of an encounter, details of personality, and fragmentary clues that a patient gives her doctor about her life.  Some of the dialogue I jotted down for this patient reads as follows:  ‘Healing helps the medicine…and the medicine helps the body…You know ‘cause you’re a doctor…You have a feeling of healing here [in your fingers]…’ “

Alan Blum is Professor and Gerald Leon Wallace MD Endowed Chair in Family Medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine, in Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has published three books of his sketches and stories of patients, and his drawings have appeared in more than a dozen medical journals and textbooks. Many of his artworks have appeared in Pulse. He is a frequent guest speaker in medical school humanities courses. His website sketchiestdetails.com, featuring sketches, stories and presentations, will debut in 2021.

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