House Calls

This morning I read this retelling of a time on Staten Island (my hometown in New York) when doctors came to your home when you were sick - no kidding, they really did.
On Forest Avenue, between Raymond Place (adjacent to Clove Lakes Park) and Manor Road, stood a small two story Tudor style house, brick and dark brown half timber and trim.

This was the office and the residence of Thomas J. Dunne, M.D., who delivered all of my siblings and me. He made house calls carrying his black bag. On one such visit to our house on Raymond place in 1951, he wrapped me in a blanket and personally took me away in his car to St. Vincent's Hospital with a diagnosis of poliomyelitis. Subsequently, I was shipped to an isolation ward in Manhattan as SI went through the last big polio epidemic before Jonas Salk's vaccine stopped the virus in its tracks.

Dr. Dunne would make change from his pocket during an office visit, and would see four of us kids for the huge fee of $3 or $4, and often gave my mother large supplies of sample vitamins left for his practice by drug companies. He lived and practiced medicine in that quaint little corner house for decades. In the mid 90's his small shingle still hung, though I am sure he was retired. I rang the bell, but no one was home.

He was a great caregiver to our family...the old fashioned G.P., a term not in use any longer.
Reminds me of the time when the doctor came to my house when I had a bad stomach ache. Before I knew it he called an ambulance and I was at the hospital getting my appendix removed. Are you old enough to remember house calls?


  1. I love the idea of house calls. We always went to the office (I was born in the early 70s). I did have my last two babies here at home, and I loved it. Being taken care of in your own home is nice.

    1. Hard to imagine these days Ma. What HMO would allow it? :)


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