Solar Eclipse trip 2017-21-08, ATMoB, Marion, IL


Sky at totality


The deathbed in art

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

David Rothman’s article in NEJM last week, “Where We Die,” brought to mind the powerful painting by Charles Alston, “Midnight Vigil,” that I saw on the cover of JAMA some years ago.  This scene is in stark contrast to ICU deaths that I have participated in too often, as pictured in the work of Lloyd Wolf.  Here are some other deathbed scenes.

The death of Jacob, as depicted in Genesis, would be the ideal we strive for:  Bless your children, then pull your legs onto your bed and join your ancestors.

–Eric Charles Alston–“Midnight Vigil”–JAMA cover 12/03/08 Charles Robert Leslie–“Sarah Dillwyn’s Deathbed”–seen in–“Where We Die” by David Rothman, PhD–“The Death of St. Clare”–JAMA cover 11/17/99, from the National Gallery of Art,–Ed Kashi–“Aging in America–Hospice Care”

“Les Bourgeois de Calais” — Les Malades de Lynn–at the Art Institute of Chicago

“Les Bourgeois de Calais” –single figure seen at the Art Institute of Chicago–while on a side trip with my daughter, during the American Medical Association Annual Meeting, after attending a workshop on the older physician.  The figure at the AIC is the one at the corner nearest you in the photo below.

Dear Colleagues:

A grim stare greeted me as I ascended the stairs.  The black, life-size sculpture compelled me to respond.  The gaunt man appeared to be robed, but turned out to be naked under rags that were open at the back.  My hospital patients came immediately to mind.  They walk in undignified dress as they face death.  Some are brave and already have the noose around their neck, as did this man.  Some are granted a reprieve, as did this man.   Where are we physicians in their lives, “Les Malades de Lynn”?