An image of Berardi's animation.- PHOTO COURTESY OF RYAN BERARDI
By the time he was a freshman at the University of the Arts, his health care team decided that there was too high a risk for infection if he kept his chemotherapy port in. So, his port was removed and he had to receive vincristine (a chemotherapy agent) via an injection in his hands – which posed a serious risk for extravasation.
“I never fully understood the severity of the injection, and the potential tissue damage that could result if an extravasation occurred,” Berardi said, remembering that whenever he received an injection, he always had two nurses, plus his mother, who was also an oncology nurse, in the room.
“The making of the animation allowed me to work with medical professionals teaching me the severity of chemotherapy injections and extravasation, while allowing me to produce artwork that could potentially save a patient from reconstructive surgery, or even amputation,” he said.
The animation is not currently in use, as Berardi and Hogg are working on some final adjustments that will hopefully lead to further review by other health care professionals. However, Berardi mentioned, “I do not foresee any reason why it will not be used in the assistance of teaching the Flush-Out technique to medical professionals.”
In the meantime, Barardi accepted an internship with the University of Dundee where he will be the medical artist for a cancer progression video game used for public education. In the long-term he hopes to continue down this career path, working with medical professionals to help create educational tools.
“I believe medical artwork, especially animation, is a powerful and valuable teaching resource that demonstrates complicated information simply and effectively,” he said. “To be able to do this as my career would be my way of giving back to those who helped me into remission, and in doing so I can hopefully support the treatment of future patients diagnosed with the horrible disease.”