Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

A busy doctor’s waiting room

The word “patient,” derived from the Latin “to suffer,” could be interpreted in traditional parlance as patiently enduring the torments of a disease or, less tragically but still annoying, waiting endlessly in the reception room for the arrival of the doctor. Born in Rome, Georgia, Alice Edith Rumph (1878–1978) was a painter, etcher, and art teacher. In the image shown here she captured a busy doctor’s waiting room in an etching thick with cross hatching and loose shapes. In this not unfamiliar sight to even the modern patient, the most obvious features of the etching are the crossed legs of the waiting patients and an open door leading to the next room, presumably the next stop on the way to the examination room.

The Doctor’s Office by Alice Edith Rumph. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of Chicago Society of Etchers.

Winter 2020



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