White Coats

The White Coats abstract painting captures the emotional colors of trauma by doctors who provided me care when I was diagnosed with cancer.
White Coats Acrylic Painting
Kimba Livesay, White Coats, Acrylic on Canvas 30x24x.5, 2021.

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The White Coats Close Up


White Coats

White is the color of light, health, cleanliness, perfection and purity. It is the color of the coat worn by doctors. And for me that has been problematic. In the span of six months, I had twenty-two different doctors that provided me with health care services. That’s a lot of white coats but when you are diagnosed with a rare form of cancer that’s what you get. White is also associated with coldness, elitism, criticism and isolation. This has been my experience with most doctors.

As I have healed from cancer, the white coat triggers trauma. It took a lot of courage to admit that. My treatment from doctors has caused deep suffering. Trauma is born from being powerless. As the patient I had no power. Or at least that is what some doctors wanted me to believe.

This creative project has helped me mend the broken parts of trauma and regain power. I took the pain and suffering and transformed it into something meaningful and beautiful. The abstract painting White Coats is colorful, balanced, bright and invigorating. The trauma is transformed. The colors are not by chance. Each color corresponds to a type of doctor I encountered.


The white canvas represents the white coat. Out of twenty-two doctors, I was blessed beyond measure to have three doctors that were impeccable. They were everything you want in a doctor. Caring, kind, compassionate, empathetic and knowledgeable. I am so very grateful that as I continue my journey, I’ve been able to choose my care team and that I treasure every single one of my doctors.

Crimson Red

Red is the color of anger. Two of my doctors expressed anger toward me. The first yelled and ranted for ten minutes because I wanted all the facts before making a decision. The second yelled at me because her staff made a mistake. Maybe I’m from a different world and time but I don’t think doctors should yell at patients. I truly hope these two women can grow their emotional intelligence to match their intellect.  That would be a blessing to their patients. The two large blocks of crimson red represent these two yelling white coats.


Orange is the color for lies.  Most of my doctors lied to me. I also consider omitting information a lie. One doctor told me that if he shared all the side effects to treatment then the placebo effect would occur and I would have all the side effects. I spent hours looking up possible side effects to mitigate my healing process. I did his job. Lies and insincerity erode trust and that prohibits honest relationships. The large block of orange in the center of the painting symbolizes the lying white coat. My hope is that doctors can learn to trust themselves and their patients.

Canary Yellow

Canary yellow is the color for deceit, fear, analytical thinking and lack of compassion. Doctors are businesspeople. They need to sale their services and treatments to stay in business or employed. Sometimes they do this by manipulating statistics to scare you into treatment. One doctor told me that if I didn’t have his specific treatment, I had a 90% chance of dying within five years. Lots of doctors gave me lots of statistics, and no two statistics matched. The truth is they didn’t know. Canary yellow is scattered across the painting and embodies the manipulating white coat. My message to doctors is that human beings are not statistics, we are children of the Divine and so are they.


Green is the color for possessiveness. Possessive doctors are the “father knows best” white coats. This type of doctor is always a man. If you have any questions, you are told not to worry. If you have a concern, it’s not valid because they have not experienced it. You are to do exactly as they tell you. They are the doctor with the medical degree and they know what is best for you. You are the patient who knows nothing about anything, including your own body. Green patches on the painting represents the possessive white coat. My hope is that these types of doctors realize that control is an illusion. It all unfolds exactly as it should be.


Blue represents aloof, untrustworthy and uncaring. These white coats are ghost doctors. You may get a glimpse of them but most of the time you see their nurse. Their ghostly presence can be quite costly. One doctor charged me $3,000 for four in-depth hospital visits. I had no idea who they were so I challenged their bills. And suddenly like magic they appeared. The blue wispy blocks signify the ghost doctors and the lack of their presence. There is simply no excuse for this behavior. None.


Black represents evil. I truly hate to acknowledge this type of doctor exist. I’m grateful that I only met one. This white coat is a dementor. He enjoys sucking all hope and meaning from your soul. He hands out sinister reassurances that he’s just being honest, all while he feeds on your fear. It took me a few minutes to realize his game and I immediately left the consultation. Dr. Evil is no joke.


Doctors are human beings. And yes, I expect more from doctors because they literally hold your health in their hands. When I see a white coat, my palms get sweaty and my heart pounds. I’m working through the trauma and it’s not always easy but I will heal.  Doctors need to realize that it is harmful to yell, lie, manipulate, patronize, charge for services not rendered and steal hope. I think that’s the one that caused the greatest trauma, trying to steal hope.  

Hope is the thing with feathers

That perches in the soul,

And sings the tune without the words,

And never stops at all.

–Emily Dickinson



White Coat photo by Kimba
Kimba Livesay, White Coats, Photo 1, 2021


White Coat Photo 2 by Kimba
Kimba Livesay, White Coats, Photo 2, 2021

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