Bookend

10,000 house calls and counting

There’s only one reason to treat patients at home: They need your care.

The familiar, rhythmic tones interrupted my pre-dawn reverie that early-spring morning. I rolled out of bed and made one long step to the dresser, where the beeper lay among the contents of pockets emptied the night before. It was 4:15 a.m. and Peggy Hooper wanted me to make a house call.Ms. Hooper is a woman whose vague complaints have led us to try more than 15 prescription medicines over the years with very little measurable effect. I have treated her in the hospital, in the office and many times in her home. Going there was not a problem — I am a doctor who makes house calls — but, with 6 a.m. hospital rounds looming, there just wasn’t time.Since I began my career in medicine in the early 1980s, I have...

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