"Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability" ~ William Osler

Abicumaran Uthamacumaran's poem and reflection on Medicine and Mysticism

The Tree of Life


Sir Osler, the Shaman (the one who knows)

Giver of knowledge (Da’at)

Son of Asclepius.

Sir Del Maestro, the Wizard

Grand Master of the Arts and Art of Heart (healing)

Da Vinci’s Senso Commune

Surgeon of technologies

Creativity’s Child.

Welcome, and Thanks


The poem serves as a tribute to our lineage of medicine, the tree of life. The first three lines are devoted to Sir William Osler. Top-down, the first line refers to him as a Shaman, emphasizing him as a healer of the human spirit, and thanking him for paving evidence-based best practices in humanistic medicine. The second line should remind us he is the library of medicine, and the last, traces his lineage to the roots of medicine. The next five lines are devoted to Dr. Rolando Del Maestro. As the Wizard, we celebrate him as the Jungian archetype of the magician and the healer. The second line in tribute, reminds us he is a poet, a writer, an art historian, and a well-rounded scholar in harmony with his excellence in the art of surgery. The next three lines, trace his lineage of medical practices to Da Vinci, explaining how Dr. Del Maestro transcended the traditional scientific boundaries of medicine, via his creativity. The senso commune reminds us of Da Vinci’s sketch of the brain, denoting the third ventricle which was believed to be the seat of the soul. This shows us that Dr. Del Maestro is a luminary of high virtues, who has perfected the art of medicine, by being grounded in spirit, compassion, and love for humanity. As a surgeon of technologies, he is an innovator ahead of our times, who has pioneered surgery, medical education, and healing practices. This line celebrates the fruits of his labor, his contributions to interdisciplinary sciences and artificial intelligence in medicine. These lines express my gratitude for his precious mentorship and teachings. The last two lines are in tribute to all mothers and fathers of medicine, honoring the legacy of AOS, shining bright.

The poetic structure is enfolded with a hidden meaning, as evinced by the word Da’at, which in Jewish mysticism roughly translates to knowledge. It signifies the poem as the Sefirot, the Kabbalistic symbol for the tree of life. Da’at is where the ten emanations of the Divine, the Light, unite as one in the sefirot. The ten lines of the poem denote the ten sefira. The Sefirot is thus, a graph-theoretic structure, a network representing the ten qualities a healer must encompass in the art of medicine. This hidden meaning is in tribute to another mentor in my heart, Dr. Phil Gold. He discovered the first clinically relevant tumor biomarker. As a titan in the field of oncology, and a pioneer of cancer research, his clinical innovations, and gold-standard approach to patient care have saved countless lives. His keen intellect, unrelenting curiosity, and compassion paved a new era of precision medicine. As an educator, he galvanized generations of students into pursuing medicine as a noble calling dedicated to service and the advancement of human health. Dr. Gold is as pure as his name. As a visionary and a paragon of medicine, he is the perfect embodiment of vitality, beauty, wisdom, and goodness. He bestowed me with purpose and menschlichkeit (i.e., sense of humanity), steering me in the path of the Light. These three giant pillars of medicine are God’s gifts to humanity. I share immense pride, in having been mentored by two of them.

Having completed a BSc in Physics and at the end of my second BSc in Psychology, I am on my journey toward medicine. A  lifelong commitment to excellence and scholarship devoted to protecting precious human life awaits me. In the footsteps of my great mentors, our fathers of medicine, I share a deep untiring passion for oncology. As Dr. Del Maestro has taught me, a deep appreciation for the social humanities, as fostered by AOS is key to nurturing compassion, love, and care in the art of healing. The poem, by paying respect to the tree of life, and lineage of healers, demonstrates medicine is a way of life, a calling to help alleviate human suffering.

The AOS Poetry Meet was a soulful gathering and such a delightful treat to be in the presence of our fathers of medicine. Weeks have passed and my soul is still drawn back to the event. Our host/moderator, Dr. Stanley, gracefully orchestrated the event, with his insightful and rich commentaries, which were like a dynamic poem. The emotions and stories we shared, and the humble presence of the giants, are blessings I will cherish all my life on my journey as a branch of the grand tree of medicine. May good health, longevity, and love always cherish AOS. Thank you.

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