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A set of mock medical legal illustrations meant to help a lawyer communicate complex medical concepts and events to the judge and jury. This covers a medical malpractice case of a woman who is suing her doctors for neglecting to move up her C-section date after a diagnosis that presented more risk to her baby. Her baby suffered a hypoxic event within the womb before her C-section date, and developed cerebral palsy. The boards introduce the relevant anatomy, then depicts major medical events and conditions along the timeline of the case, and ends on the resulting impact on the plaintiff's child.

Team members:
Su Min Suh -
Christine Shan -

Sabrina Cappelli -

Client: Prof. Leila Lax
Media: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator

Format: Medical-legal illustration boards

Audience: Lay audience

Date: December 2019

MLV mockup.png


The objective of this assignment was to co-design and render a multi-board medical legal illustration as a team. Since our team consisted of 4 people, we were to create 4 boards.


The chosen case was a medical malpractice case: A pregnant patient was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), a condition that gave more of a hypoxia risk to the fetus. Her OB/GYN ordered regular tests, but did not move up her C-section date. A few days before the scheduled C-section, and after some some mixed test results, the patient came back with abnormal results and had an emergency C-section. The baby suffered hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and this resulted in hypotonic cerebral palsy. The plaintiff argues that the doctor should have moved up the C-section date due to the risks of IUGR. These illustrations were to support the plaintiff in court.



After getting the case assignment, we met as a team to discuss the main events of the case, and what questions the judge and jury would need to understand:


  1. What is the relationship between the mother, the placenta and the fetus?

  2. What is intrauterine growth restriction and its associated risks?

  3. What was the condition of Rhonda immediately before birth and how could this contribute to brain damage?

  4. What is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and does it causes brain damage? What are the effects of this damage?


We assigned one question to each person, and brainstormed ideas about what could be shown on each board. We would follow the case through by establishing the foundational anatomy, then the two major medical events (growth restriction diagnosis, and hypoxia-inducing conditions at time of birth), then ending with the resulting pathology and impact on the baby’s life. 



We established a plan of how to divide the work. We decided that we would be each be responsible for creating drafts for our assigned board so that we gain expertise in our own topic. We will meet regularly to discuss the layout and flow of the visual story. However for consistency in the final look of the image, we would choose certain repeating elements to render: for example the fetus/baby, the maternal anatomy, etc. A style sheet was devised for further consistency - we specify typeface and font choice, graphical element specs, and suggested colour swatches. 



We created sketch iterations while meeting as a team as well as with our professor. We took many considerations, including how to keep orientation clear to a lay audience while having a clean and concise layout, how much detail to include, how to avoid negative color or language connotations, and how to associate the timeline with the main subject matter of boards 2 & 3. While drafting our own boards, we communicated to make sure that the story flows throughout all the panels. Below is one example iteration, where we experimented with the style of the timeline as well.

med legal board 1 v1.jpg
IUGR panel sketch 6.jpg
Placental Compression Layout_Comprehensi


We followed the codoesign plan and style sheet for our renders, and combined our renders to create the final images. 

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