Alan Blum ~ Alabama

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Pulse Magazine (online) 2010: "Alan Blum, MD is professor and endowed chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, where he also directs the Center for the Study of Tobacco and Society. In 1977 he co-founded Doctors Ought to Care, an international physicians' organization that pushed organized medicine to become more active in combating the smoking pandemic and the tobacco industry. As a result of these efforts, Dr. Blum received the Surgeon General's Medallion from Dr. C. Everett Koop. …

"Pulse ventures into new territory. We present sketches by a family physician who for years has been jotting down visual impressions and snippets of conversation as he cares for patients. These sketches go back as far as 35 years, representing patients who have died or with whom he lost touch because of geographic relocation."

Alan Blum: "These sketches were all unplanned and were done with ballpoint pen on whatever paper I happened to have in my hand at the time, from prescription pads and paper towels to the wrappers of latex gloves or sterile gauze. As a medical student at Emory, I began adding sketches to my notes as a way to spend a bit more time with the patient, to focus more closely on the patient's expression and to try to capture the essence of our encounter. I learned the importance of listening closely to patients from my father, a general practitioner in Queens, New York. His office was in our home, where every afternoon the living room became the waiting room. A central role of a personal physician is to identify the patient's fears and to try to allay anxiety. There's a patient in all of us, waiting to get out."
   
Seeing Patients:
The Sketchiest Details

By Alan Blum, M.D.

8.5 x 10.75"; 102 pages. Softcover. Perfect bound.

Alan Blum, M.D., introduction: "I awaken each day with the wonderful faces of patients in my mind and the simple but funny, poignant, and wise stories I've been privileged to hear."

Mark Hughes Cobb, The Tuscaloosa News, "Since he was a resident on rounds sketching a cute social worker, Dr. Alan Blum has put pen to paper to capture faces: grimaces, grins, groans, looks of consternation, and sly sharing.

"The sketches and poem-like notations of complaints and questions bring vividly back each and every patient ... and their stories. ... Not all the stories are ... sweet. Some are ribald, some sad, some simply weird. Some read like Henny Youngman skits. ... "


These drawings have resulted in three books. Seeing Patients was the precursor to Ladies in Waiting and Gentle Men.
$50

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Gentle Men
By Alan Blum, M.D.
Gordo, Alabama: Firebrand Press, 2011. Edition of 75.

5.5 x 8"; 32 pages. Letterpress printed with photopolymer plates on Domestic Etch paper. Typefaces: Optima and Baskerville. Perfect bound with cloth over boards.

Dr. Mary Winkler, Literature and Medicine, Volume 11, Number 2, Fall 1992: "Alan Blum's sketches are one medical practitioner's response to the fragmentation and disintegration of a long tradition of observation. Through his sketches, with their scraps of dialogue, Blum has reconciled two kinds of knowledge that have long been separated: the powerful and objective knowledge made possible by imaging technology, and the artist's knowledge of a person as individual and whole."

Blum's handwritten notes accompany his line drawings. From the first story (I was going to ask you was I able for sex?) to the last line (Doctor told me I needed an autopsy, but I said I wanted to wait), we see the fragility and frailty of life.
$95

Pharos Review
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Out of print titles by Alan Blum:  
   

Ladies in Waiting
By Alan Blum, M.D.
Gordo, Alabama: Paper Souvenir, 2009. Edition of 75.

5.5 x 8"; 18 pages. Letterpress printed with photopolymer plates on Domestic Etch paper. Typefaces: Optima and Baskerville. Perfect bound with cloth over boards.

Alan Blum, M.D., introduction: "I awaken each day with the wonderful faces of patients in my mind and the simple but funny, poignant, and wise stories I've been privileged to hear."

Ladies in Waiting contains Blum's sketches and jottings of his female patients.

I was eleven pounds when I was born, and I've never had a small day since

Do I have a boyfriend?! What'm I gonna do with a boyfriend? Husband's enough trouble for me.

(SOLD)


CMAJ Humanities Review
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Page last update: 12.10.16

 

   
  
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