February 18, 1983

The Tallis Case

Author Affiliations

Syracuse, NY

JAMA. 1983;249(7):879. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330310015003

I approach my responsibilities of teaching cardiology to medical students and house officers with some ambivalence. Of course, I have always enjoyed and usually learned something from my contacts with these young colleagues, but lately their emphasis seems to be entirely on technical procedures. Few of my charges express an interest in entering full-time solo practice; most are not enthusiastic about honing their skills in bedside physical diagnosis. None believes in house calls.

I can remember making house calls on people who were too poor for a society doctor but too proud for the clinic. My mind can still conjure up the kind of call I'd get, almost always at night.

"Doctor, can you come? Quick! It's Zadhr, he's not feeling too good."

"What seems to be the trouble?"

"How should I know? He just doesn't feel good. Please come."

It was usually more a plea than a command. I'd