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COL Damian Rispoli, MD

Since his three tours of duty in Iraq, Col. Dr. Damian Rispoli’s professional thoughts and actions have been permeated by a sense of melancholy and humility. “A person cannot stare into the random suffering of war and fail to come away with a greater appreciation for peace and predictability,” he says. Dr. Rispoli, an orthopaedic surgeon in the U.S. Air Force who was awarded the Bronze Star for his efforts to establish medical facilities and treatment early in the war, says he’s benefited from research on trauma patients’ physiology and the body’s response to devastating trauma. He believes further research is necessary to unlock the regenerative potential of human cells, as large gaps remain in the repair of soft tissue injuries.

Things That We Carry

11 x 14 in.

Mixed Media Image


A combat surgeon’s weariness with the persistent traumatic injuries of war is visualized in this mixed media composition, which uses superimposed trauma photos to form the image of a fatigued surgeon. “Doctors on the war front tend to depersonalize the rendering of care in order to minimize the impact of emotion on performance. At the end of the day the imagery drifts back into the conscious mind, begging for attention,” Col. Dr. Rispoli says.