The laboratory was a separate structure in the Hopkins medical complex; access from the hospital was overland and across two streets. There was also a service tunnel, by way of the power and heating plant, that I used during the winter on extremely inclement days. Between the Medical School and the power plant, there was a change in the level of the tunnel at which a six- to eight-foot ladder had to be negotiated. This feature may have discouraged its use because I seldom encountered anyone in the tunnel.
During World War II, on a cold, wintry day with several inches of snow on the ground, Dr. Blalock made one of his visits to the laboratory. He came down the hallway stomping his feet and shaking his coat to dislodge the snow. Getting just inside the laboratory door, he looked at his watch and asked, "Why the hell did I come over here. I'm due somewhere else. I'll see you next time." He turned and left. Tom and I looked at each other and laughed, with Tom jokingly commenting, "That man sure doesn't trust you. No reason he would possibly come out in this gosh awful weather except to check up on you." ("Gosh awful" was about the extent of Tom's profanity.)
I relate this incident to emphasize Dr. Blalock's devotion to the laboratory and research. Come hell or high water (snow or sleet, in this instance), he would find his way to the laboratory.
With the importance he attached to research, Dr. Blalock was unhappy about the distance that had to be traversed and the amount of time consumed to get to and from the Hunterian building, "the dog house." The situation was not conducive to the use of the laboratory by the doctors in clinical practice, or by those in training in the hospital. The trip from office to laboratory and return required fifteen to twenty minutes, depending upon elevator service and the location of one's office in the hospital. His feeling, often expressed, was that with sufficient technical help in the laboratory to prepare for the arrival of anyone who wanted to work, this wasted time could be used in productive research if the laboratory were more easily accessible.
A heroic plan for the rebuilding of the hospital was undertaken in 1950. The first building in the plan, called Reconstruction Unit ♯1 (RU-1), was to replace the old surgical building that still housed radiology and the accident room. When wrecking of the building began, I