Medicine: Night Calls

Late one night in June 1950, Giovanna Ricci, 35, wife of a Venice shopkeeper, gave birth to a fine, healthy boy. She had already borne two children without difficulty, and at first all seemed well. Then the attending midwife noticed symptoms of post-partum hemorrhage. Alarmed, she urged the Ricci family to call in Dr. Giovanni Lavezzi, who had examined Giovanna ten days before.

On the telephone Dr. Lavezzi demurred. It was late, he said, and he had to get up early next day to treat an out-of-town patient. Giovanna's sister-in-law told Lavezzi that they would get another doctor and called Dr. Luigi...

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