In this piece at Pajamas Media, Dalrymple recounts an episode from early in his medical career, a story he told in his second book Fool or Physician:
…I was called to see a man aged 84 who lived alone in an isolated cottage in the country. He had been bleeding rectally for some months and was now so anaemic that he could hardly sit up, let alone walk.
“Why didn’t you call me before?” I asked him.
“I know you’re busy, doctor,” he replied. “I didn’t like to disturb you.”
What could I have had to do more important than trying to save his life? All these years later, I am moved by his stoicism and lack of self-importance, not exactly the characteristics of our age.