Art of Medicine
May 2021

Patient Care, Self-Care

Cyril Patra, MPH
AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(5):E428-429. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2021.428.


This drawing considers how healers’ abilities to help patients grow come from their partnerships with patients and from their capacity for self-care.

Figure. The Heart and the Hands



Stabilo point 88 pen on Leuchtturm 1917 Whitelines Link smart notebook.


An anatomical heart represents clinicians’ years of learning to respond to patients’ illness and injury and to practice healing. Union of heart and hands remind us that, when caring for an individual, a healer must see the patient as a whole human person, not as a set of signs and symptoms. A healer’s humanity must also be attended to with diligence and care. This drawing suggests holistic unity of both patients’ and clinicians’ wellness: hand in heart, heart in hand.


AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(5):E428-429.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The author(s) had no conflicts of interest to disclose.

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