Dr. Dalrymple starts off the new year with two essays in New English Review, with the first one concerning two of his more memorable hospital visits, famous novels set in hospitals, and hospital poetry.

In my day, patients routinely stayed ten days or two weeks after such an operation; they resumed life gingerly, as if their operative wound were always in danger of coming apart, and generally felt pretty gruesome for quite a time afterwards.

Nowadays, by contrast, a stay of two days in hospital is exceptional, and patients are ushered out of the hospital doors as soon as they will not die if sent home.

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