Bioethics Blogs

Comics and the Medical Encounter by Ryan Montoya

Editor’s Note: In March of 2013 the Annals of Internal Medicine added the Graphic Medicine series as part of their medical humanities features. As they describe, “Annals Graphic Medicine brings together original graphic narratives, comics, animation/feature, and other creative forms by those who provide or receive health care.” Most often the stories are from a physician’s own experiences and drawn by the health professional themselves or sometimes by a collaborator. The November 2015 issue of the Annals published “Sign Out” by Ryan Montoya, M.D. I asked Ryan to talk about what motivated him to create his comic “Sign Out” and some of the comics conventions that he uses to convey complex social interactions.

I want to explain my biggest fears, anxieties, and neuroses, and put them under a spotlight.

At least, that is currently my goal with my comic work. I spend a great deal of time writing in my journal and refining a narrative in my head that explains what are likely completely disparate life events into a cohesive story. That narrative changes all the time, and I would like my comics to capture a version of this story at that moment.

I have loved and read and drawn comics since the first grade. I knew it would always be a part of my life, and as I made my way through my medical studies it became rapidly obvious that I would be telling graphic narratives culled from my personal experiences in medicine and other fields. My artwork is heavily influenced (i.e.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.