While traveling from the corridor in one end of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to the far corridor of the new hospital, I had to comment on the emptiness of the lobby in the “old” hospital. The emptiness is due to the fact that the portraits of our longtime beloved physicians were no longer hanging on the wall.

The portrait of the late Dr. Charles T. Claydon, who served as the Vineyard surgeon for 31 years, was painted by the late Dr. Michael H. Dietz, a rheumatologist/emergency room physician who had worked at the hospital for a number of years. The plaque that was inscribed with the name of the late Dr. George H. Feil was placed in perpetuity in his honor for his many years as an internist at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. The portrait of the late Dr. Russell S. Hoxsie served to remind us of this family practitioner who worked on the Island for more than half a century, delivering many babies as a major part of his practice. And perhaps one of the worst travesties is the missing portrait of the late Dr. Robert W. Nevin, another longtime family practitioner who delivered a significant number of babies in his time at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. He started his career as a young physician who was born and raised in Edgartown following in the footsteps of family physicians.

These men spent a significant portion of their lives attending to patients at the hospital in the days when office visits cost an average of $10 and house calls cost about $25. Or patients would barter with a bushel of scallops or lobsters, a home-baked cake or cookies, or perhaps even an oil painting. They spent hours caring for patients, generations of families who were like extended families to them. These dedicated physicians were an integral part of the fabric of our Vineyard community. They were the backbone of our hospital when it was a community hospital. They were all highly respected. Oftentimes they were the glue that essentially held us all together in times of strife.

Their portraits hung in the lobby for many years — where are they now? Please hang their portraits in the lobby where they belong and not the meaningless art collection that hangs there now.

June D. Manning