Whenever King Hassan II of Morocco fell sick, his emissary would telephone Dr. Roman DeSanctis in Boston. The next day, DeSanctis would board a plane for the royal palace. One day, a truck rolled up to DeSanctis’s home in Winchester. Out came 21 handmade Moroccan rugs, a surprise thank you for being on call from 3,500 miles away.
The Massachusetts General Hospital cardiologist took care of other VIPs, too, during his six decades at the hospital: John Wayne, Henry Kissinger, and Red Auerbach. Yet, even as DeSanctis’s reputation as an expert diagnostician grew, you could still get an appointment — if you were patient, or had a special circumstance.