This is Dawn. She is a staff emergency physician.
“My interest in wellness had preceded the pandemic because I had gone through my own burnout several years ago. We saw a lot of people who were very stressed and worried about their health, as well as worried about getting sick or making their children sick. There was a lot of anger, frustration, and a sense of loss of control, and that’s a really difficult thing for us as healthcare workers.
It wasn’t until I started photographing medical stories that I really started to appreciate what I had enjoyed about medicine and what was missing. Emergency medicine moves pretty fast and our interactions tend to be pretty short so I realized what I missed was the connections with the patients.
If you google SARS, there aren’t that many photographs about SARS survivors and the people who treated SARS patients.
To me, that didn’t make sense. I’m a very visual person, so to see a photograph and get a sense of what it felt like to be there is very important to me. I wanted our group to have that, and didn’t want them to go through this experience and then return to normal without having that pause to remember what it felt like.
My photography has made me realize how many narratives there are in COVID. When I first started, I wanted to show our team in action. After I looked through the photos, I realized that they were missing the importance of what COVID had done to our community.
One of the things I’ve noticed as an ER physician is how difficult it is for our patients to self-isolate due to job or food insecurities.
I think that there is a misconception that photography and art are unrelated to medicine.
Through photography, I can self reflect. The act of photographing something has made me not only part of the team but also a person who is watching what the team is doing. We don’t see the interactions of nurses and paramedics or how the patient’s face looks right before we intubate them. We don’t see this from a different point of view.”
Dawn Lim is a staff emergency physician. She has documented the experience of COVID for her team through photographs on https://www.dawnlimphotography.com/