Tag Archives: compassion

Not just for the sake of ourselves

Florence Gelo Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States   The Fatal Wounding of Sir Philip Sidney, 1806, Benjamin West, Woodmere Art Museum, Bequest of Charles Knox Smith The Fatal Wounding of Sir Philip Sidney is a painting that I have used often to teach close looking to medical and theological students. The painting is full of details: […]

Compassion in the emergency room

Raymond Bellis Stony Brook, New York, United States     Photo by JacksonDavid on Pixabay. Yet another shift in the Emergency Department—between the frenzied rush of staff, the constant pinging of monitors, and the chaotic overhead announcements, I didn’t find the environment particularly conducive to healing. But as a dedicated student in my third year […]

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. 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 for the patient.” —Francis W. Peabody, […]

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. Wellcome Collection. Public domain. In the summer months before my first year of medical school, I unfurled the pages of Moby Dick. Immersed in the novel’s adventurous […]

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 […]