These disturbing, unhappy images are difficult for medical people who are imbued with traditional optimism. We do not like to think that our patients feel so lonely and afraid, especially those who are doing well or who have supposedly curable ailments, like Hodgkin's Disease, which Pope relentlessly calls "cancer." (HT: NYU Lit Med)
Perhaps for that reason, Pope's family and friends created a special foundation to donate this book of his art and words to students entering medical school. Early in their training, it provides them with a stark and tangible reminder of how it feels to be a patient in the world of modern medicine.