Eating my muffin before class, I happened upon an exhibit of photographs called “Inside Terrorism ” by Diane Covert at the Harvard Med. School.
At first glance, the images were x-rays containing foreign objects such as metal fragments and wrist watches. These appeared to be the kinds of films we are shown in medical school to teach us the difference between what is ON or INSIDE a patient, or to demonstrate body cavities where foreign objects might be found (clamp in the abdomen after surgery, coin in the airway of a curious child, flashlight up the rectum).
On second glance, these are something quite different. A hex nut embedded into the calf bone, a watch embedded in the soft tissues of the neck at the carotid artery. Halloween joke, I thought, but then saw the exhibit kiosk. These are actual x-rays from victims of terrorist violence, and the findings are the residue of that brutality. These bloodless images do not evoke an immediate horror reaction, but the significance sinks in deep (a different approach from FOX sensationalism).
I spent the next hour teaching my medical students over trays of organs from people who died from heart and vascular diseases, the slow natural killers.
My life is sometimes bizarre.