Department of Surgery Annual Report Features Patient's Artwork


(October 2018) Arturo Garcia was struck by debilitating abdominal pains in December 2012. Fighting through the last hour of his shiftat a bartending job, Garcia admitted himself to the emergency department at University of Colorado Hospital, where doctors identified an ampullary tumor near his pancreas.   

After undergoing a specialized surgery called the Whipple procedure, Garcia’s prognosis was good—until he was diagnosed with a severe infection. With drainage tubes protruding from his body and with chemotherapy treatments scheduled, Garcia decided to live life on his own terms, focus on his passion for painting and inspire others battling disease.  

Now, Garcia is 100 percent cancer-free and he owns an art gallery in Denver. He contributed a series of paintings of patients that were used in the Department of Surgery’s 2017 Annual Report and were displayed on campus in the art gallery at the Fulginiti Pavilion for Bioethics and Humanities. 

“The portraits painted for the ‘Art of Healing Surgical Care Report’ are a eulogy to our true human nature, to the light of our beautiful spirit and to its healing powers,” Garcia wrote in an artist’s statement. “Healing is an art performed by the body and the spirit: the true artist in us.” 

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