Medicine: Halfway Wards

Earl Perry, an elderly bachelor, has primary cardiopathy, a common disease of the heart muscle. He lives alone and has a difficult time sticking to the diet necessary to control his salt intake, which is essential if he is to prevent heart failure. As a result, Perry, who also has diabetes, periodically lands in a medical ward of the Boston Veterans Administration Hospital. A year ago he would have stayed for perhaps two months in a section nominally reserved for the acutely ill, wearing hospital pajamas and attended by orderlies or nurses, until the...

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