Tag Archives: St Therese

Form (follows) Function, and Flowers

24 Apr

Form function and flowers J


OK, OK the link here is fairly tenuous, but the aphorism “Form Follows Function” was one drummed into me during my paediatric training. It is actually an architectural term, but applies just as well. to developmental anatomy This man with Poland’s syndrome is a case in point. This is a condition in which congenital absence of the pectoralis muscle on one side of the body occurs. Without normal muscle function pulling on the underlying ribs, they fail to form properly and the person has a flattened, often quite deformed thorax. Apart from not looking very nice, the condition is benign and seldom causes problems.

An interesting piece of history; the condition was described in 1841 by Alfred Poland, a Surgeon at Guys Hospital in London who dissected the body of a convict with this condition by the name of George Elt.

In a reference to St Therese of Lisieux “I will let forth a shower of roses” this image has a shower of daisies photographed in Dunster, BC Canada, about three years ago. This was segmented, the flowers lifted and warped to produce the shower falling over distant russet clad hills (But look the morn, in russet mantle clad – Shakespeare – to honour his death on 23rd April 1616, 400 years ago yesterday)

Chest 66; Shower of roses

17 May

Chest 66; Shower of Roses


The index X-ray is from lady with breast cancer and metastatic deposits in the lungs, she suffered from a psychiatric complication of the cancer and steroid treatment.

As a junior doctor I was once abused for referring a patient by a psychiatrist who didn’t know that steroids can be a cause of psychiatric symptoms, particularly depression, dementia, and occasionally mania. The patient was accepted for treatment with great reluctance but it was amusing to see the case presented at psychiatric grand rounds the next week as though it was their amazing diagnosis.

The shape of the ring falling through a shower of bubbles was fashioned from the curve at the nape of the neck of the lady in the X-ray. The bubbles are light reflections from a glass bowl. The image lies on a background of flowers – and the title references St Therese, patron saint both of florists and people with diseases such as breast cancer.

I am often astounded by the fortitude and stoicism with which people accept their diagnosis of a fatal condition and sometimes wonder if my own response would carry the same depth of courage. I hope this image begins to illustrate those emotions.

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