AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Journal of Ethics Header

AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

AMA Journal of Ethics. November 2017, Volume 19, Number 11: 1146-1147.
doi: 10.1001/journalofethics.2017.19.11.imhl1-1711.

Images of Healing and Learning

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Healing Hands

An image of a husband and wife’s intertwined hands captures one patient’s inspiration for living.

Image and caption by David Bryan Lackey, MS


For the last seven years, my bride of 45 years has been working very hard to recover from a series of heart problems and two strokes. In 2015, after hundreds of therapies following her 2012 stroke, we were fortunate enough to find a therapist who understood the importance of compassion and empathy in clinical situations. Within a few months, my wife’s physical, cognitive, mental, and emotional condition improved profoundly. As a photographer and author, I had been documenting her survival, recovery, and flourishing, and I was fortunate enough to recognize a moment of beauty and captured a single image that has since become my wife’s inspiration for living. It is entitled “Healing Hands.”


Figure 1. Healing Hands. Photo: David Bryan Lackey.
(Click image to enlarge.)
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Art and healing: the beauty and power of human touch in images connects clinicians and patients through empathy and compassion, providing hope and inspiration.

David Bryan Lackey, MS, is a freelance photographer in Atlanta, where he provides portraits of healing to patients suffering from strokes, brain injuries, and devastating injuries in collaboration with his wife. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he formerly was an adjunct instructor in the College of Design’s School of City and Regional Planning.

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Performing Pain and Inflammation: Rendering the Invisible Visible, August 2017

Tangles: An Illness Narrative in Graphic Form, August 2014

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.