Medical arts: 'Dr. J' paints with surgical tools

The meaning of medical arts.

BOISE - Four years ago, Dr. Jacob Neufeld moved to Boise to start a program to help kids with disabilities.

Now, Neufeld - "Dr. J" as he's known around St. Luke's -  works with children with spinal cord injuries, or muscular dystrophy, or spina bifida. 

Or kids like Lake, born with cerebral palsy and battling congenital heart disease.

Dr. J will tell you his job is fulfilling - but it's also unforgiving.

"Probably one of the hardest things i have to do is tell a parent what their kid can't do - or what they won't be able to do," he says.

And while mismatching his socks and shoelaces gives him a little levity at the hospital, it's what he does in his down time that lets Dr. J really convey his creativity.

For the last couple of years, Dr. J has been putting color on canvas - without any idea of what it's going to look like.

"I mean, i know I'm going to make something different," he says.

How he does it is also different. 

Dr. J doesn't do his painting with brushes. The New Jersey native uses old and donated surgical tools that he finds in the St. Luke's basement - giving new meaning to the term "medical arts."

"Everyone paints with a paint brush," he says. "This is something different - this is a new genre of art!"

Dr. J never thought of himself as artistic, and other than a room in his house he never considered painting.

That was, until he saw an artist at the Boise Creative Center two years ago squirting paint out of water guns.

It was a natural transition to this.

"It's totally unrelated to what I do - to anything I've ever done," he says.

Here, in front of a Canvas, Dr. J can put his bad days behind him - but he does sometimes find a different perspective.

"I Iose myself in what I'm doing," he says.

So leave the brush strokes to the other painters. 

Dr. J will keep using his clamps and catheter tubes. And his swabs and sponges and syringes, splattering  and scraping in a medium of mess - with a little-less-than-surgical precision.

"I just, you know, take the things and I see what it will do," he says. 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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