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December 9, 1983


Author Affiliations

Brighton, Mass

JAMA. 1983;250(22):3036. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340220014010

Although I have only eaten it once and don't remember whether or not I liked it, whenever I see calamari listed on a menu, I think of Mr Franco.

Mr Franco, a stocky, elderly printer and a denizen of Boston's north end, had worked above a pornography shop in Chinatown for 50 years. I had met him in the emergency ward when he was initially seen with a small myocardial infarction, and he became one of the first patients I admitted to the hospital during my internship.

While on the wards, Mr Franco refused to don the hospital "johnny" and sat outside his door in a tartan robe instead. During our daily rounds, we would inquire about chest pain or shortness of breath—items from our checklist of cardiac symptoms—and he would wave us off at every question, as if to pooh-pooh any suggestion that he wasn't in perfect health. He