MedSpeak Illuminated: The Art and Practice of Medical Illustration
By François I. Luks, MD, PHD
Kent State University Press, 2022
In his new book, Luks, a professor of surgery, of obstetrics and gynecology, and of pediatrics, deconstructs the process of medical illustrators to provide a framework for approaching complicated subject matter through visuals. He also reviews the history of medical illustration and the depiction of disease in famous works of art. For example, Michelangelo’s The Manchester Madonna depicts an infant John the Baptist with frontal bossing that is a telltale sign of beta thalassemia, possibly because he used a child with the condition as a model.
Luks, the pediatric surgeon-in-chief at Hasbro Children’s/Rhode Island Hospital, offers hope for doctors who think they can’t draw. “Even if you have never held a brush in your life,” he writes, “you can apply yourself to scientific visualization.” By applying his practical lessons on light and darkness, shadow and texture, physicians can improve their use of visuals in their communications practice.