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Moments in Surgical History |

The Surgeon as Illustrator

Ira M. Rutkow, MD, MPH, DrPH
Arch Surg. 1998;133(8):914. doi:10-1001/pubs.Arch Surg.-ISSN-0004-0010-133-8-ssh0898.
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It is the rare surgeon who has adequate artistic abilities that allows them to communicate information not only by the written word but also by sketching patients with distinctive clinical problems. The personal drawing of a surgical procedure or pathological problem can serve as an important future footnote in reminding the surgeon of the case having visually recorded it for later review. For scalpel bearers with such talent it is also not unusual to find that their private diaries and/or surgical journals will contain drawings that provide further unique insights into their professional doings.

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From Lewis Sayre's private surgical casebook, he has sketched this 6-year-old girl with deformities of the spine and hip, who underwent a surgical procedure to remove necrotic bone from her left acetabulum. Two years later she died of her underlying disease process, miliary tuberculosis. (Courtesy of The New York Academy of Medicine, New York City.)

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