The medicine of art: A picture’s worth

A mother and her 12-year-old son stand with their backs to me in the corridor just outside my office, studying the framed print that hangs on the wall. As is the case with most works of art, there is a story behind this one. more»

Interested readers can now access my latest Art of Medicine column — A picture’s worth — recently published in the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

Please note that all of my previously published Humane Medicine pieces can now be accessed here.

Back to the future

I smiled when I read the comments of the CEO of the existing hospital holding corporation: “We are excited to pursue this relationship with [healthcare corporations X and Y]. Like ours, these organizations are committed to providing high-quality, low-cost, person-centered care.”

As you follow the money, always look for the spin. more»

Interested readers can now peruse my latest Musings blog — Back to the future — at the Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants (JAAPA) website.

JAAPA is the official publication of the American Academy of Physician Assistants.

­­¡Que Peña!

Several days after returning from a summer sojourn in Spain, my wife handed me a bound volume entitled “Dietario 1993.” It turned out to be a daybook that she discovered in an old house in Santa Marta, previously owned by members of the extended family of one Vicente Peña, a published poet, now deceased for some years.

The diary contains any number of poems that Peña crafted on specific days in certain locales. They are sporadically numbered, almost as though he were organizing them to appear in a published volume.

Peña wrote under the pseudonym “Ortiga.” Here is an example of one of his spontaneous drafts, handwritten in the first page of the diary. (My translation follows.)


duerme el mar
mi corazon
lo despierta la brisa
algo sucede
en mi alma…
tu no estás
llama el frio
en mi ventana
y al amanecer
cuando te espero
en la luz del alba,
tu música
de rosa y mar
me lastima
con dulce calma.

[Escrito] en mi casa de Ortigueira, 01 Enero 1993

V. Peña (Ortiga)


the sea sleeps
my heart rests…
the breeze awakens her
something stirs
in my soul…
you are gone
the cold wind
calls at my window
and at break of day
when I wait for you
in the light of dawn,
your music
of roses and sea
pricks me
with a sweet calm.

01 January 1993

I have no idea if these poems were ever published. From a cursory reading, I can attest to their poignant beauty.

What a treasure, this book! It will be a delight to peruse its contents!

2014 Vicente Peña 9-8-2014 001

“When we know” republished

Nothing jolts the mind more deeply than glimpsing the subject line of an unexpected e-mail as you simultaneously come to the sudden realization that someone you had at one time known and respected is now no longer counted among the living….

Originally published on this blog (May 11, 2014), “When we know” has been reprinted in the 2014 summer issue of the Journal of Dermatology for Physician Assistants (JDPA), Volume 8, Number 3, page 58.

Interested readers can also access this piece here.