Kay Wu is a Canadian medical student at McMaster University in Canada. She is deeply passionate about both the arts and the sciences. She explores the union of the human imagination and the forces of nature in all her creative endeavours. She is currently working on several projects in the fields of sciences, clinical medicine, artificial intelligence, and art.
“I want my art to challenge others to think critically about how the healthcare system can be changed for the better”
The Art of Medicine, 2021, is a series of four watercolour paintings that portray the medical aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic, each with rings to symbolize life. Aware of the difficulties faced by medical staff on the frontlines, Kay also wanted to portray the emotions of the most vulnerable. Working on these paintings taught her that the medical world requires change. She says, “I want my art to challenge others to think critically about how the healthcare system can be changed for the better”. We need to learn the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic for the system to evolve.
Women of science have often used crocheting and clothes stitching to help understand complex scientific processes and facts. This was the case of pioneering French midwife Angélique du Coudray (1712-1794) who created a mannequin of textiles to teach trainee midwives on all steps of properly attending childbirth. At that time, female midwives were barred from medical studies. In 1759, du Coudray published a midwifery manual “Abrégé de l’art des accouchements” illustrating important manoeuvres to preserve the safety of women and their new-borns at the moment of birth.
Her trainees practiced various manipulations in mock births on the life-size obstetrical mannequin and were well prepared to handle dangerous situations, such as with twins and breech presentation. Du Coudray succeeded against the opposition of male surgeons when Louis XV recognized that she was instrumental to reducing chid mortality and commissioned her to travel across France to teach the art of midwifery. She taught thousands of students and even male medical doctors and became a symbol of French medical progress.