Other Features: Cover Art
Dr. Gertken is a resident, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
I painted The Healer during my second year of medical school at a particularly difficult period in my training. The challenges I was facing during this time made me doubt my choice to pursue medicine, and I was questioning the impact of the physician within the labyrinthine practice of modern medicine. I had started painting out of frustration, as a creative escapist activity. What I found, however, was that this painting actually brought me back to medicine. The image, to me, is an abstract representation of the most basic and fundamental role that “the healer” has played in human culture. Today, just as people around the globe have been doing for thousands of years, the sick seek out the healer to be touched and treated. My painting serves as a personal reminder of the relationship we as healers have with the ill, and though the context of the medical practice will change with the evolution of culture and society, that simple bond will remain.