Doctor’s Art Raises Addiction Awareness – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News


Medford’s Dr. Arun Kuruvila raises awareness of the toll of addiction through his art, including the digital painting ‘Teardrops, Pills and Tablets’.

Dr Arun Kuruvila of Medford has seen patients in their twenties undergo open-heart surgery to repair the damage caused by drug use.

Bacteria from an infected drug injection site can enter the bloodstream and travel to the heart, where they infect the heart valves. Some infections can be cleared up with weeks of antibiotic treatment, but some people suffer damage so severe that their heart valves need to be surgically replaced.

“I’ve seen at least two or three patients who had a valve replaced, went home and came back with a second infection because they relapsed into their drug use and needed that valve replaced a second time. times,” Kuruvila said. “It’s a very high-risk extensive surgery. So crossing it twice is really difficult.

Kuruvila has witnessed the increase in the number of medical problems, hospitalizations and deaths caused by drug use. He not only helps care for patients at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center in Medford, but he also raises awareness about addiction and treatment through his art.

Born in India, Kuruvila excelled in art classes from fifth to eighth grade. He chose to go to medical school and eventually settled in Medford, but he continued to paint cityscapes, landscapes and abstract pieces. Later, he united his two passions by producing art based on his experiences in medicine.

More recently, Kuruvila has created a series of digital paintings that explore the toll of addiction while offering hope.

Dr. Arun Kuruvila works on a watercolor in his studio in Medford. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

A painting shows a close-up of an eye crying tears and pills, a reference to the addiction, suffering and death caused by prescription opioid painkillers and illegally manufactured pills containing the often deadly fentanyl.

Kuruvila said prescription drugs can ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce drug cravings, giving people a better chance of recovering from addiction and staying alive.

Giving people drugs for addiction treatment after a non-fatal overdose has a better track record of reducing deaths than prescribing blood pressure drugs after a heart attack, he said.

Regret, guilt and stigma keep many people from seeking treatment, but drug treatment is highly effective and life-saving, Kuruvila said.

Medford’s Dr. Arun Kuruvila raises awareness of addiction through his art, including “The High” digital painting.

Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center offers inpatient treatment to help patients recover. Patients can then log in to help further in the community.

Doctors recognize that patients are often more receptive to help after landing in hospital with a serious medical condition or from an overdose, Kuruvila said.

Her series of addiction paintings marks the second time that Kuruvila has drawn on her medical experiences to create art.

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted him to create a series of stark black and white paintings honoring the dedication and sacrifices of healthcare workers and showing the consequences for them and patients.

Dr. Arun Kuruvila’s art explores the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare workers and patients.

A painting shows a nurse providing hours of uninterrupted care to a COVID-19 patient on a ventilator on dialysis due to kidney damage. The nurse is fully equipped with personal protective equipment – ​​including face mask, face shield and medical gown – to minimize exposure to the virus.

“These dialysis nurses have to be in full PPE with their mask on, and they can’t leave the room,” Kuruvila said. “They are in an isolation room with the patient throughout dialysis. It’s very stressful. You cannot go in and out. They must stay with them.

Dr. Arun Kuruvila cares for patients at Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center while raising awareness of medical issues through his art.

While working during the pandemic, Kuruvila said he saw seemingly healthy people who would suddenly get worse, have to go on a ventilator and then die. Some patients had to stay in hospital for more than a month because they needed high levels of supplemental oxygen. Staffing shortages, long working hours and fears of exposure to COVID-19 have created extreme levels of stress for healthcare workers.

Kuruvila’s COVID-19 series was published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. This week, several of his healthcare-related paintings are on display at a gallery in Mumbai. He has shown a variety of his works locally and across America.

Dr. Erin Bender, a colleague who also treats patients at Asante’s Medford Hospital, said Kuruvila’s art captures the experience of healthcare workers and patients both during the COVID-19 pandemic and the drug epidemic in America.

“His paintings create awareness,” she said. “They’re really touching. You can relate to them visually. They show what you’ve been through and what the patients have been through. I’m in awe, not just because of his artwork, but because it’s a phenomenal doctor.

Contact Mail Tribune reporter Vickie Aldous at 541-776-4486 or Follow her on Twitter @VickieAldous.

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