Art of Medicine
Jul 2021


Brent R. Carr, MD
AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(7):E582-583. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2021.582.


This charcoal gesture drawing was inspired by a mid-adolescent nonbinary patient investigates a caregiver’s and patient’s journey from despair to hope.


Figure. Free to Choose, 2020



Charcoal on paper 5.2 cm x 22.9 cm (6" x 9").


This gesture drawing was inspired by a mid-adolescent patient progressing through a gender transition, despite enduring others’ biases. This patient shared that they finally felt free from suicidal thoughts after years of failed attempts to control their depression with medication. After researching electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), they requested it, despite its status as a stigmatized intervention.

After ECT, the patient’s suicidal thoughts ceased, and they reported excitement about having found ways to more freely and nimbly move within, and respond more dexterously to the demands of, their emotional world. This patient now had the internal resources to transform a frightening, narrowing bleakness into a capacious future, with space for movement, growth, and life.


AMA J Ethics. 2021;23(7):E582-583.



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.