Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities

Morning rounds

Alan Blum
Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States


During my internship, residency, and fellowship in the late 1970s, I kept a visual journal, filling several notebooks with patients’ stories, clinical vignettes, snippets of overheard conversations, and sketches. The two collages in this gallery, drawn in my usual medium of black ballpoint pen on small index cards, depict patients I visited at bedside on individual morning rounds. Every face recalls a detail of personality, a conversation, an illness. I sought to capture fleeting patient expressions within the often frightening and isolating worlds of hospitals and clinics.


Morning rounds art: sketches of various heads of patients, including a sad older woman and a sleeping man. The latter's head is next to a woman with her hair pulled back, looking determined. Another sketch shows a man with facial hair, followed by a woman with curly hair and an older man with his head back as if on a pillow. A balding man with a beard is depicted in the bottom left. Morning rounds art: sketches of various heads of patients, including a haggard man with what appears to be a breathing tube, a larger woman looking up and to the left, a woman with curly dark hair, a man with messy hair and facial hair, and a side profile of a larger young man with shoulder length hair, a beard, and glasses.




ALAN BLUM, MD, is professor and endowed chair in family medicine at the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa. A self-taught artist, he has had invited solo exhibitions at several universities, libraries, medical schools, and hospitals, and his work has appeared in numerous publications. He has produced three artbooks of sketches and stories. View his work at https://sketchiestdetails.com/.


Fall 2022  |  Sections  |  Gallery

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.