Scientists seeking ways to combat COVID-19 is like playing chess with the virus. Scientists seeking ways to combat COVID-19 is like playing chess with the virus. Scientists seeking ways to combat COVID-19 is like playing chess with the virus. (Photo: Momen Abbasi)

Doctor uses his cartoonist skills to explain coronavirus to patients

'You can see it helps put them at ease,' said Dr. Momen Abbasi of Hadassah Hospital in Israel.

As an internist focusing on pediatric nephrology at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, Dr. Momen Abbasi frequently has to find creative ways to explain procedures to his young patients. For that, the 29-year-old turns to his love of cartoons, often drawing pictures of anthropomorphic kidneys and dialysis machines. “They are useful when showing children and adults parts of their body before a procedure so they know precisely what’s going to happen," he said.

"What I’m considering doing with my artwork down the road is to use it with Hadassah medical students – for example by creating flashcards to make nephrology study a little less dry," he explained. "I also want to deepen the use of drawings with patients. You can see it helps put them at ease.”

The current coronavirus outbreak, with all of its unknowns and uncertainties, has provided Abbasi with plenty of concepts that need explaining. To help elucidate the impact of socially distancing ourselves from others, he's now working on an illustration of Little Red Riding Hood staying at home, rather than risking infecting her grandma with the coronavirus.

He has spent the past few weeks drawing corona-related cartoons. Below is a sampling of some of his work...

'I never studied animation but started drawing in sixth grade," said Dr. Momen Abbasi. "Using programs like Photoshop and Flash I gradually learned how to build characters.' 'I never studied animation but started drawing in sixth grade," said Dr. Momen Abbasi. "Using programs like Photoshop and Flash I gradually learned how to build characters.' (Photo: Courtesy Hadassah Medical Organization)

'My first corona-related drawing was a hat-tip to the medical teams in Hubei, China – a medical knight fighting the epidemic,' the doctor said. 'My first corona-related drawing was a hat-tip to the medical teams in Hubei, China – a medical knight fighting the epidemic,' the doctor said. (Photo: Momen Abbasi)

As the virus came closer to home, so did Abassi’s drawings – trying to advise the public on best practices. As the virus came closer to home, so did Abassi’s drawings – trying to advise the public on best practices. (Photo: Momen Abbasi)

Doctors have yet to find a medicine to fight the novel coronavirus, although attempts are being made to use existing drugs. Dr. Abbasi demonstrates the resistance to anti-fungal drugs. (Photo: Momen Abbasi)

The coronavirus crisis is bringing down the stock market. The coronavirus crisis is bringing down the stock market. (Photo: Momen Abbasi)

Dr. Abbasi previously compiled his drawings about kidney issues into a pamphlet for his pediatric nephrology patients. Dr. Abbasi previously compiled his drawings about kidney issues into a pamphlet for his pediatric nephrology patients. (Photo: Courtesy Hadassah Medical Organization)

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Doctor uses his cartoonist skills to explain coronavirus to patients
'You can see it helps put them at ease,' said Dr. Momen Abbasi of Hadassah Hospital in Israel.