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First clinical teachers are often formative. Mine was Lord Evans (1903–63), a tall Welshman with a wry but lively sense of humour, Physician to the Queen, and in 1959 immersed in medical affairs of state. In those halcyon days at the London Hospital students spent the first year of their clinical course on just two attachments, one medical and the other surgical. Since there were only about 50 students in each clinical year, of whom a third had come down from Oxbridge to join the London students, each firm consisted of less than half a dozen students; there were just five of us in my group. All clinical teaching took place at the London Hospital itself, apart from some additional midwifery, and an elective period of up to three months in the final year. Students were therefore sought out by any enthusiastic teacher—and there were many of those. We worked on the wards, and in out-patients with our consultants (two to each firm) and with the senior registrar, registrar and house physician. We were on call from our beds in the Students’ Hostel every fifth night. Lord Evans’ teaching was combined with Dr Wallace Brigden, a charismatic young cardiologist.
The first patient …