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Article
August 18, 1962

NIGHT CALL, VALID EMERGENCY OR NUISANCE?

JAMA. 1962;181(7):631-632. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050330061016
Abstract

A Scottish family doctor said ruefully, "Night calls are a disturbance to slumber, to social activities, and to literary efforts." Arnold Bennett in Riceyman's Steps described a doctor's night visit as primarily a grievance and secondarily an occasion to save life. Aware of the need to understand the physician's emotional responses in these situations, a group of 8 English general practitioners organized weekly discussion sessions to study the psychological background of night calls. They were joined by Dr. Michael Balint, a trained psychoanalyst, well known for his interest in the training of general practitioners in psychological techniques. Recently one of the practitioners, Max B. Clyne, described the experiences and the conclusions of the group.1

"Once I leave the office, I try to forget that there is such a thing as medical practice." This expresses one of the reasons for resentment of night calls. The physician has in a manner

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