Pleural Effusion

About the Artwork

“This image represents a pleural effusion. I was working in the ER after the third surge when a young patient came in with chest pain and difficulty breathing. He had the wide-eyed, deer-in-the-headlights look that tells us so much more about a patient’s illness than the words they are speaking. He was ultimately diagnosed with new heart failure and a large pleural effusion. He spent several days in the hospital before being discharged with a handful of medications–tokens of his journey from healthy, well appearing adult to a chronically ill heart-failure patient.”

Jacqueline Pflaum-Carlson is an emergency medicine, internal medicine and critical care medicine physician who practices in Detroit. “I started painting during the COVID-19 pandemic as an outlet for the complex emotions unearthed during the first surge, and then I progressed to anatomical-based paintings that represent the physical diagnoses we are frequently handing down to our patients.”


5 thoughts on “Pleural Effusion”

  1. I love the juxtaposition of an innocuous goldfish, such a non-threatening pet with flowing fins, but the presence of so much fluid within the space is quite ominous indeed.

  2. Sheila Dickson

    Lovely; I would wear it proudly on a t shirt.

    and what a great way to remind us to take care of ourselves.

  3. Your art is beautiful. Imagine that _ beauty from the diagnosis of a life altering condition for this young man.

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