Artist Rebecca Allan appreciates the beauty of human compassion.


A colonoscopy can save your life—plain and simple. Sure, this sounds good. But actually having the procedure done? Isn’t it supposed to be complicated and stressful? It turns out that it’s not so bad. In fact, it can even be an experience to remember positively. 

Rebecca Allan, a visual artist and painter, found this out for herself on October 30th of 2013 when she visited the Gastroenterology Department at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals (SLR) for her scheduled colonoscopy. For Rebecca, like for most of us, the idea of having to undergo a medical procedure at first sounded daunting. But she quickly found that the most impactful factor of all was the people behind the procedure.

After a successful same-day screening, Rebecca communicated her gratitude to Andrew Blank, MD, the gastroenterologist who performed her colonoscopy, and to all of the individuals on his team at SLR for the way she had been treated. “I realize that you would not normally expect someone to write a thank-you note for a colonoscopy, but I must express my appreciation and admiration for you and the entire community of staff members I met that day. Every member of the Endoscopy Suite staff was kind, compassionate, and helpful.”

The Gastroenterology Department at SLR provides diagnosis and treatment services for disorders of the organs of digestion, including the esophagus, stomach, colon and liver. Dr. Andrew Blank, an attending physician in the Department of Medicine, is active here, and also at SLR’s University Medical Practice Associates at UMPA at 81st Street. He specializes in general gastroenterology, in addition to irritable bowel syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease and liver abnormalities.

“In an environment where people are constantly coping with the anxieties of illness, the mess of body fluids, and the lack of fresh air and daylight, I was fortunate to go home that day with a clean bill of health,” says Rebecca. “I was completely impressed with the compassion, humor, and professionalism of your entire staff.”

It is a staggering statistic that colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.  Routine screenings such as colonoscopies, especially after the age of 50, could help save a significant amount of those affected.  Indeed it is true that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. For Rebecca Allan and the individuals at SLR, a preventive procedure is especially valuable not only for what it helps not to happen but for what does happen.

For more information about the Gastroenterology Department at St. Luke’s and Roosevelt Hospitals, please visit For more information about Dr. Andrew Blank or to schedule an appointment, please visit or call 212.496.2291.

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