What Health Care Looked Like: The Challenges of a Rural Physician

Previously unpublished photos shot by LIFE magazine's W. Eugene Smith after shadowing a general practitioner for more than three weeks.

LIFEDoctor-Post.jpg

In 1948, LIFE magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith spent more than three weeks in Kremmling, Colorado, shadowing general practitioner Ernest Ceriani as he worked with patients on all manner of ailments. The resulting images -- powerful and poignant -- became an instant classic, and Smith was quickly anointed one of the masters of the photoessay. For the first time ever, thanks to Smith's work, many viewers were given an intimate look at the emotional and physical challenges faced by rural physicians on a daily basis.

Earlier today, LIFE magazine made some of Smith's previous unpublished photos available. (During his time with Ceriani, Smith shot so many images that most were tossed to the cutting-room floor when the series, "Country Doctor," was being assembled.) 

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well. Bestselling author Mark Bittman teaches James Hamblin the recipe that everyone is Googling.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.

Video

Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.

Video

The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.

Video

Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.

Video

Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Health

Just In