See Wisely to Treat Entirely

BY MATTHEW LIM

The following piece received an honourable mention the Visual Art section of The Auricle’s 2021 Writing and Visual Art Competition and is responding to the prompt “ ‘The value of experience is not in seeing much, but in seeing wisely.‘ William Osler

My visual piece has been influenced by the dehumanisation of patients in medicine. William Osler has also said: “It is much more important to know what sort of a patient has a disease than what sort of a disease a patient has.” My visual portrays the value of experience as the ability to take a holistic approach to medicine and personalise medical treatment by placing more emphasis upon patients’ own personal desires when deciding treatment options. This message is displayed through the depiction of faint
silhouettes of people visible within the words on the computer screen – in order to see these silhouettes, you need to “[see] wisely” rather than “[see] much” (if you zoom in close enough to read the words, you will not be able to see the silhouettes). The words on the screen relate to ‘the medical interview’, and choosing to see patients solely as this set of information (rather than as people) will result in dehumanisation. The large stack of books is reflective of the ease at which medical students can sometimes reduce a patient into a set of symptoms to be diagnosed, especially when studying the signs
and symptoms for a variety of medical conditions.

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