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A hospital room with patients in each bed. On the left, a surgeon stands on the left side of the bed. On the right two men in white lab coats stand at the foot of the bed while there are two people seated on both sides of the bed.

'Therapeutical Apheresis'
(ink drawing with tempera, 29' x 39')
©May H. Lesser


I draw a very ill young woman in the Department of Transfusion Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. The apheresis treatment has failed twice. She is smiling and laughing! "Why is she laughing?" I wonder what she has to laugh about! Then I realize that she is viewing a comedy film on the tiny television set over her bed. How kind -- she has an hour's release from worrying. The chief surgeon of the National Cancer Institute, who is this patient's doctor, tells me about a similar patient who wrote a little essay that started with "I died today." The poem talked about how she wasn't going to see her children grow up. "It was poignant and so sad because it was true. It keeps your priorities in order when you are doing the kind of research that I do. We never forget why we are doing it," the doctor said.