Tag Archives: compassion

Ellen Powell Tiberino’s The Operation

Cody Ritz Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   The Operation (1980), Ellen Powell Tiberino. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Julius Bloch Memorial Fund created by Benjamin D. Bernstein, 1990, 1990-116-1. Permission obtained through the Tiberino estate. In the graphite drawing by the late Ellen Powell Tiberino titled The Operation (1980), a tangled chaos emanates […]

Red Beard: a master clinician in nineteenth century Japan

Howard Fischer Uppsala, Sweden   A Meeting of Japan, China, and the West, late 18th – early 19th century. Shiba Kōkan. late 18th – early 19th century. Minneapolis Institute of Art. One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring […]

Compassion

Charles Halsted Davis, California, United States   Formed and found in the human soul lies the wellspring of compassion. Seeing yourself in the other, the other in yourself is the essence of compassion. Selfless caring without condition for the unfortunate ones without voice, feeling the pain of another, accepting without judgment is compassion. Caring for […]

Being our best selves: hidden in full view

James Stoller Peter Rea Alan Kolp Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Figure 1. Pillars and pediment We live in a paradox framed by a tension between age-old wisdom about excellence and our current state. The paradox is this: our behaviors and our priorities are often at odds with age-old truths about how we can be […]

Ahab’s gift: Herman Melville’s Moby Dick and the meaning of pain

Xi Chen Rochester, New York, United States   A whale being speared with harpoons by fishermen in the arctic sea. Engraving by A. M. Fournier after E. Traviès. Credit: Wellcome Collection. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) In the summer months before my first year of medical school, I unfurled the pages of Moby Dick. Immersed […]

Burnout: Are we looking at it through the wrong lens?

Elizabeth Cerceo Camden, New Jersey, United States   The Exhausted Ragpicker. Jean François Raffaëlli. 1880. The Art Institute of Chicago. The epidemic of burnout seems to afflict ever more populations as it insidiously creeps into the workplace of everyone from nurses to teachers, from medical students to seasoned clinicians, from Amazon to Apple. As physicians, […]

Rethinking the impulse to empathize: A sister’s perspective on sympathy and stigma

Jeanne Farnan Pennsylvania, United States   Mary Cassatt, Mother Combing Sara’s Hair, 1901. Private collection. Web Gallery of Impressionism “I am so sorry.”  My youngest sister, Annie, was born during the spring semester of my first year of high school. These four words are etched into my memory, integrally intertwined with the events of that […]

Between Frames: liminality and the emergence of self

Jane Persons Iowa City, Iowa, United States   Human hippocampus, 2X magnification, Luxol fast blue stain. Photo credit: Karra Jones, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Department of Pathology, Iowa City, Iowa, United States The development of compassion, along with wisdom, skill, and communication, is pivotally important to the practice of medicine.1 Perhaps even more importantly, development […]

Retirement reflections: from code to compassion with Chloe

Gregory Rutecki Cleveland, Ohio, United States   Daphnis & Chloe, by Henry Woods, R.A William May and Samuel Shem have described inadequacies of doctor-patient relationships that are characterized as code models.1,2 May observed that these medical codes binding patients and their physicians together shape relationships similar to habits or rules, are aesthetic, and value style over […]

Death and new-doctor eyes

Katrina Genuis Vancouver, Canada   With slim cuts to her wrists, she came into the emergency room and said she wanted to die. “This is clearly a cry for attention,” others said. “Send the new doctor to stitch her up.” I sat by her bed with a 30-gauge lidocaine-filled needle and 4.0 nylon sutures, and […]