Written by Katharin CzinkDina Bair and published on Chicago WGN on January 18, 2022


Doctor uses art to process pandemic experience

A local doctor on the front lines of the Covid battle has armed himself with a brush and finds comfort in color. And now his creations are easing the burden for others.

Justin Fiala is a pulmonary and critical care specialist at Northwestern Medicine, where he cares for the sickest Covid patients.

“I can spend hours at a time down here and it feels like 10 minutes,” he said. “It’s a meditative process. … By anchoring in the ability to get my feelings out in painting, I was really able to work through some of the lowest points emotionally within the pandemic.”

Fiala is also an artist.

“The ICU can be such a hard place to work because we see the worst of the worst coming through,” he said. “We see the horrors of the worst things that can happen.”