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Entries in medical (4)

Thursday
May282015

Cancer Treatment Op-Ed

Here's a recent Op-Ed assignment for the Boston Globe. I worked with Art Director Heather Hopp-Bruce on this one. Cancer is hard to define in visual terms, so I focused on the prevention side of the argument, with a human figure removing symbols of the hazards and risks that we encounter in modern life. It's a big, dark, ominous-looking shape, but the topic is weighty and in a way, frightening.

Tuesday
Mar312015

Health and Wellness

Is flu season over yet? Just when you think spring has arrived, and you are out of the woods, it hits you. Like that last winter weather event, just after you took off the snow tires.

At this time of year, it's a matter of recharging the batteries, gearing up for spring. Can't wait for the warmer, friendlier weather, and the sense of purpose and energy that comes with it. I've been busy with a lot of editorial work so far this year. For some reason, most of it has been health related.

Yes, I am fine, thank you. Doing well. But this kind of work can make you start self-diagnosing.

So here's my recent medical history, illustration-wise.

Learning to Say No to Dialysis, written by Paula Span for the New York Times Science section. Art director Audrey Razgaitis and Cathy Gilmore Barnes.

Becoming Bionic, for the Robb Report, about advances in transplant technology. Art director Lisa Lewis.

 

Remembering Mom - a woman reflects on the legacy of her mother after her passing. For Texas Co-op Monthly, art director Jane Sharpe.

 And lastly, here's a full-page illustration for Reader's Digest Canada. It's a testimonial of a woman who endured two years of a debilitating spinal condition, suffering misdiagnosis, confusion and then a full resolution of her health problems. Not really my kind of story, but my Mom was totally impressed by seeing this published.

Gesundheit!

Sunday
Mar232014

Medical Op-Ed

Every week, it seems, biopharmaceutical companies announce new breakthroughs in “personalized medicine” – customized health care where the goal is to tailor drug therapies to individuals. Competition between gene sequencing businesses to catapult us into the age of the $1000 genome drives much of the hoopla. Gene-based companion diagnostics, for cancer drugs especially, promise to help doctors discern which patients are likeliest to benefit from which treatments, curtailing the need for mix-and-match, trial-and-error, one-size-fits-all chemotherapies.

But what if every new drug – however much more effective than current treatments – works only for smaller and smaller numbers of patients? And what happens to those minimally beneficial but mega-profitable blockbusters that now dominate cancer treatment when it becomes clearer that only small percentages of the people taking them will truly benefit, people who now can be identified prospectively?


The Cure for Some Could Cost Us All - by Barry Werth

Interesting topic - I was given the chance to work with a half-page layout by art director Heather Hopp-Bruce for the Boston Globe Op-Ed page.. It's a complicated, modern issue, tied to human genomes, customization, medicine and economics. It was a challenge to dive in and cover the topic in a nuanced manner. Miracle cure or another burdensome expense for consumers to carry? Here is a detail:

Here is the page layout:

 I worked on a number of concepts, here some of my other sketches:

Sunday
May272012

Under the Knife

I developed serious back problems about a year ago. I can't identify why it began, but by the time I had surgery I could barely move. I couldn't walk or stand for more than 2 minutes at a time. An MRI revealed a bulging disk, sitting directly on my sciatic nerve. 

It's been two weeks since the operation. Feeling better every day. It's nice to be given a second chance. When you live with pain, it wears you down. The operation removed the source of the pain, and I have pulled back and stopped everything, to give myself the time to mend. The scars are healing over and my energy is coming back. Everything has gone according to plan, no complications.  Thanks to my surgeon, and thanks to my understanding family. A new beginning.

My springtime roster usually revolves around gardening and cycling. I will be back on the bike at the end of June and my family has pitched in to take care of the yard. I had an intensely busy spring, so I welcomed the time off. I am looking at buyng a new desk chair to minimize the risk of recurring problems. I am sure there are other illustrators out there who have ended up in the same situation. (I'd like to hear your story).

So now it's time to get back to work. Enough about discussing my medical issues, I don't intend to dwell on it, or show you my surgical scars. I did acquire a certain empathy and deeper understanding of the medical system and the people involved. So why not show a couple of recent assignments?

I worked on the above illustration the day I got my MRI. The artwork was for an article about the invasiveness and dubious benefits of screening procedures. I worked with art director Peter Morance from the New York Times. His initial message was about colonoscopies and I gasped a little when I got the message. Not a topic that brings great visuals to mind. I went through a pile of sketches to arrive at a conceptual, non-specific final. Relief.

I have another image from a short story, about the mindset of a man in the process of getting a vasectomy. I've had this discussion with lots of guys my age. The whole pros and cons and sitting on a bag of peas for a week argument. Is it worth it? I guess you could say it's a man's right to choose. Had fun with the snipping scissors imagery on this one.