Art of Medicine
Oct 2022

A Future We Create

Christa J. Prentiss
AMA J Ethics. 2022;24(10):E1026-1027. doi: 10.1001/amajethics.2022.1026.


This drawing considers roles of health care waste in environmental stewardship and individuals’ and communities’ health outcomes.

Figure. Inheritance



Watercolor, acrylic, and graphite on cold press paper, 11" x 5.5".



Single-use, disposable health care supplies promote safety but generate abundant waste. Even when produced cheaply, these items travel, used or unused, from packaging to landfills, and their biohazardous influence is not isolated to institutional locations where they are discarded. In this watercolor, an anonymous, white-clad health worker navigates a growing pile of waste. Scattered used blue masks stray from collections contained in yellow and red bags, becoming part of an environmental inheritance of the children at play.


AMA J Ethics. 2022;24(10):E1026-1027.



Conflict of Interest Disclosure

The author(s) had no conflicts of interest to disclose.

The viewpoints expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.