A "thin, quiet little" doctor comes to inspect Henry's injury, but is exhausted by the task of pulling all the shrapnel from Henry's leg. Later, the doctor returns with two of his colleagues, who all agree that Henry will have to wait six months in bed and on crutches before the shrapnel can be removed. Henry asks for another opinion. A few hours later, Dr. Valentini, arrives. Valentini wears the stars of a major, cheerfully shares a drink with Henry, and tells Henry he will operate on his leg in the morning.
Hemingway typically portrays "real" men as skilled in their professions and fond of the finer things in life, such as drinking. The timidity of the first three doctors, who consult each other rather than act, is a clue that they are not fit to operate on a real man like Henry. Dr. Valentini, in contrast, is a man just like Rinaldi.