Methodist’s Sketch Artist Surgeon: Drawing Pictures For Patients

August 23, 2017

Call it the Fajardo masterpiece. The picture he sketches for patients. A drawing of the inside of their bodies. An elementary outline of the procedure they will get.

The picture might be drawn on a notepad with a pen. Perhaps, a sketch of an aortic aneurysm. It may be crafted with pencil on scrap paper he finds lying about. Perhaps, an illustration of arteries that have hardened.

“I do this for every patient,” says Andres Fajardo, M.D., a vascular surgeon at IU Health Methodist Hospital. “So they understand, you know? And feel comfortable.”

In a scary medical world, it’s the little things that make a difference. Beyond surgical skill, patients care about connecting with their surgeons.

And what Dr. Fajardo does adds a special touch – one he says bridges the gap between surgeon and patient.

It’s his way of explaining medically what is going on in the simplest of visual terms.

And it’s ironic, in a way, that Dr. Fajardo uses elementary drawings. After all, he was just a tiny boy when his career as a vascular surgeon was put into motion.

Dr. Fajardo grew up in the shadow of what his future career would be. His father is a vascular surgeon in Colombia.

“So, that’s kind of what led me,” he says. “He made me.”

Dr. Fajardo is funny. It’s another personable trait of his that draws patients closer.

When asked his medical path, he starts with: “Well, I’m originally from Kentucky, as you can tell.” Then, he bursts into laughter.

Dr. Fajardo was born and raised in Colombia, so the accent gives him away. He grew up going to work with this dad.

He remembers hanging out at the nurses’ station while his father saw patients. The medical world grew on Dr. Fajardo and then stuck.

After graduating high school, he went to medical school in Colombia and then came to Indiana University for his residency in general surgery.

After a vascular and endovascular fellowship at Washington University in St. Louis, he was back at IU Health.

At IU Health Methodist, Dr. Fajardo specializes in complex aortic cases.

Complex, that is, until he pulls out that paper and makes it easy for patients to understand.

Outside of IU Health

Dr. Fajardo is a single father to a 7-year-old son and loves spending time with him. Dr. Fajardo also enjoys CrossFit workouts and can be found at the gym almost every day, either at 5 a.m. before work or 6 p.m. after work.

-- By Dana Benbow, Senior Journalist at IU Health.

Reach Benbow via email or on Twitter @danabenbow.

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