And as we like to mention each year, keep in mind every single one of these newbies, is a doctor, coming to a clinic near you . . . .
We offer the following for your persnickety perspicacious preview:
An elderly gentleman on his deathbed is insisting that he be buried with all his money. He calls his most trusted friends – a priest, a lawyer and his personal physician – to his bedside.
“Here’s $240,000 cash to be divided among you equally. I’m trusting each of you to place your 1/3 into my casket when I’ve passed, so I can take it all with me.”
At the funeral each man places a sealed envelope into the coffin. As they ride away in the limousine the priest abruptly breaks down in tears and confesses, “I only put $60,000 in the envelope. We need $20,000 to repair the church roof.”
“Well, since we’re being completely honest,” offers the attorney, “I only put $25,000 in the envelope myself. I do a lot of pro bono work for which I don’t get paid a cent.”
The physician is stunned. “I’m ashamed of both of you. And I want it on record than when I placed my envelope into that casket, I enclosed a signed check for the full $80,000.”
A fellow with back pain visits his doctor. He gets a brief checkup and a prescription. Irritated at the cursory exam, he asks if that’s all there is to it.
“Sure. There’s not much more we can do than give you a pain pill.”
“But you haven’t run any tests. Maybe it’s more serious than a simple muscle pull.”
The doctor rolls his eyes, turns to leave the room, and comes back with his pet retriever. The dog takes one look, shakes his head slowly and walks away. Then the nurse brings in a tiny Siamese kitten, who sniffs the patient, jumps down and sprints out the door.
At the front desk the man is handed a bill for $685. He nearly falls over.
“You people have a lot of nerve. How dare you charge me $685? All he did was poke me a few times and write this prescription.”
“The receptionist smiles condescendingly. “Yes, sir, and the exam itself is only $80. But the Lab test is $200 and Cat scan is $405.”
A dying doctor looks up at his wife holding his hand with tears running down her face. He smiles faintly and says, “I’ve been so lucky to have you. I am terribly sorry for all those foolish affairs that I had.”
“You relax,” she says quietly. No need to apologize for anything.”
“But I need to hear you forgive me.”
“Not at all,” she replies. “Just relax and let the blowfish serum take care of everything.”
A little girl turns to his grandfather, a retired psychiatrist with an irascible disposition. Little did the girl know that her grand-dad doctor that been mean to everybody, all his life, except to her. She looks at him and said, “Grandpa, talk like a frog.”
“What? I absolutely will not.”
“Ah, come on. Please? Just talk like a frog. Just once. Talk like a frog.”
“That’s nonsense. Where do you get these ridiculous notions?”
The little girl thinks about it for a moment, and then tells her grandfather that it was actually grandma’s idea.
“Well, I don’t believe grandma would say anything like that.”
“Oh yes she did. Grandma told the mailman that on the day you croak, we’re all going to Disneyland.”
(Excerpts from the book, “America’s Dumbest Doctors”)
Have a healthy weekend, readers. Thank you for joining us, and watch out for those lab coat loons.
“Hello. You’ve reached our crisis Help-line. Your call is important to us, so please listen to the following menu carefully:
If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 over and over and over.
If you are co-dependent, please have somebody else press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we already know who you are and what you want. Please hang up and hide.
If you are schizophrenic, tilt your head and a small voice will tell you which selection to choose.
If you are manic-depressive, press any button you want. We’ve had enough of your mood swings.
If you have high anxiety, just start pushing numbers at random.
If you are phobic, better not even touch the buttons. Who knows what germs lurk there.
If you are anal retentive, please hold.”
(Excerpt from the book, “America’s Dumbest Doctors”
(Doctor to bedridden patient): “Of course you’re feeling crummy. Twelve months ago I gave you three months to live. You do the math.”
A general practitioner and his wife are attending a group marriage seminar, dealing with communication. The speaker is stressing the importance of husbands and wives knowing what is really important to each other.
“For example,” the counselor says with a smile, looking at the doctor, “Sir, what’s your wife’s favorite flower?”
The doc leans over to touch his wife’s arm and whispers, “It’s Pillsbury, isn’t it?”
The rest of the story gets ugly, so we’ll stop right here.
After school, a little girl goes home to tell her mother that a boy in her class had asked her to play doctor.
“Oh, Lord,” gasps the mom. “Tell me exactly what happened.”
“Not much,” answered the girl. “He made me wait twenty minutes at recess and then he came out, poked a Popsicle stick into my mouth and demanded a quarter.”
A proctologist about to take some notes reaches into his coat pocket and pulls out a rectal thermometer.
“Damn it. Some asshole is always running off with my good pens.”
(Doctor to cop during a traffic stop): “Sure, I know I was driving in the carpool lane. My ego is big enough to qualify as another person in the car, so frankly I don’t see the problem.”
A couple of wives are watching their med-student husbands play tennis. One says, “You know, those two are actually pretty good.”
“Yeah, your Tom is really quick out there. How are his grades?”
“Oh, he’s making solid A’s and B’s, finally. But the rest of his alphabet is still too crooked to recognize.”
A woman visits a new doctor with a baby. She’s taken into the exam room and waits. Within a few minutes the doc comes in and checks the infant, finding that he is failing to gain weight. So he asks, “Is this little guy on the bottle?”
“Oh, no,” said the woman. “He’s breast fed.”
“Well okay,” says the doctor. “I’ll need you to strip down to your waist.”
The woman is more than a little surprised, but she knows that doctors are smarter than the rest of us, so she does what she’s told. The physician begins prodding, kneading and poking her breasts. Eventually he motions for her to get dressed, and says, “No wonder the baby isn’t gaining weight. You don’t have any milk.”
The woman frowns and says, “I don’t think I’m supposed to. I’m his aunt.”
(Psychiatrist to patient): “Yes, I was called in to see what we can do about your continuous hallucinations. So take a seat while I write some notes, and in the meantime you can wonder whether I’m really here at all.”
A traveling cardiologist walks into a barbershop in a strange town, climbs into the big chair and says he would like a shave and a shoe shine. The barber begins to lather his face while a woman with a plunging neckline kneels before him and starts shining his shoes.
Admiring her cleavage, the doctor says, “Young lady, I think you should join me in my hotel room this evening.”
The woman says, “No thank you. I’m married and my husband wouldn’t like it very much.”
Unaccustomed to being turned away, the doc says, “Not a problem. Just tell him you’re working late and I’ll pay you the difference.”
The woman looks up and says, “Why don’t you tell him yourself? He’s the one with the razor at your throat.”
When a famous kidney specialist died, 200 people gathered at the funeral. His coffin was creatively displayed in front of a huge, plastic model of a kidney. After the minister finished his oratory, the big kidney was opened and the casket rolled inside. About that time one of the mourners burst into laughter. The guy sitting next to him asked, “What is it with you?”
“I can’t help thinking about my own funeral someday.”
“What’s so funny about that?”
“I’m a proctologist.”
(Doctor to patient): “Looks like your insurance plan is a bit limited. They only pay for placebos.”
We suspect these would be less funny if they weren’t . . . you know . . . true:
You know the phrase, “We could never make these things up?”
“As an avid reader of true crime, Demon Doctors was even more fascinating and horrific because all of the murderers were physicians like myself.” (book review) Elizabeth Linberg, MD, Urgent Care Director, Tucson, Arizona
“Getting better has one side effect. It has a negative impact on profit within the medical system.” Dr. Robert Mendelsohn, “Confessions of a Medical Heretic”
“I have never known a clinical psychologist to report, on the basis of a projective test, that the subject is a normal, mentally healthy person. There is no behavior or person that a modern psychiatrist cannot plausibly diagnose as abnormal.” Dr. Thomas Szasz, The Manufacture of Madness
“Every hospital in America has at least one disruptive physician on its medical staff. And most have more than one.” Richard Sheff, MD
“You want to be taken seriously? Practice ignoring the first three nurses who say good morning to you everyday.” Len Hastings, Resident, UCSD, La Jolla
Question: “Now that we know Dr. Swango did in fact poison three paramedics, would you have any concerns about rehiring him to work in your hospital?”
Answer: “I would have no problem at all.” Robert Haller, Vice President, National Emergency Services, in response to attorney questioning, during a trial in which Michael Swango, MD was suspected in 60 murders and convicted of three.
“We got many thousands of public health complaints last year. Only 5,200 were about physicians.” Jo Ann Uchida, State of Hawaii Professional Regulation Department
“I cannot think of any other industry where honesty is an option.” Susan Sheridan, President, Consumers Advancing Patient Safety (CAPS)
“Some nurses are pretty bright, but most of them are not. Around here we don’t have time to sort it all out. We just call them all Band Aid Bunnies and let it go at that.” Attributed to a House Resident, Jewish Hospital, Louisville
And finally, we once kinda borrowed this note from the surgical lounge at Doctors’ Hospital in San Diego. We surmise it must have held some measure of educational significance, displayed as it was behind glass in an elegant mahogany frame.
Master these and we’ll go on to the next twelve:
- One of us is worth many of them. No patient is worth hurting yourself.
- Always stick to what you do best. Or be very, very good at faking it.
- It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you can justify it to in-house counsel.
- You can do everything right and the fool can still die.
- You can do lots of things wrong and the patient might live anyway.
- Uncommon symptoms of common diseases are far more common than uncommon diseases. (Also known as Intern Mantra #4)
- Better-looking patients get better-looking care. Tell people to deal with it.
- Refrain from giving the lecture, “Suicide: How to get it right.”
- Don’t give in to pharmaceutical bribery without a fight.
- A bloody surgeon is a happy surgeon. Leave us alone.
- Other peoples’ pain builds character.
- Should the patient opt to walk away, he first must sign out A.M.A.
Have a terrific weekend readers, and thank you for buying our books. We think they happen to save lives, with maybe a smidgeon of entertainment along the way.
“I am unable to arouse this woman.” (Note to doc: 9th grade playground primer, page four . . . find the Grafenberg spot)
“The patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia the rest of the day.” (We sort of like anorexia on pumpernickel)
“This patient has been depressed ever since she started seeing me in 1983.” (Not sure we’d put that in writing)
“The patient was in his usual state of good health until his plane ran out of gas and crashed.” (Okay. Don’t stop now. And then what happened?)
“His past medical history has been unremarkable with only a 40-pound weight gain in the last three days.” (A weekend of pizza, beer and football. Big deal)
“He is a healthy-appearing, decrepit, 69-year-old male, alert but forgetful.” (You certainly cleared that up)
“She is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.” (10 years of advanced training. Can’t fool you)
“This patient was released to outpatient care without dressing.” (Hell-ohhh. Do these pants belong to anybody?)
“Discharge status: “Alive but without permission.” (Guess God didn’t phone in his consult)
“This patient will need disposition and we’ll get Dr. Franks to dispose of him.” (Yeah, ‘cuz he’s my cool classmate with that family-owned mortuary)
“Both breasts are equal and reactive to light and accommodation.” (Amazing what happens when you unsnap a living bra)
“She stated she had been constipated all her adult life until her divorce.” (What a crappy thing to say about marriage)
“Patient’s rectal exam reveals a normal sized thyroid.” (We’ll take your word for it, Dr. Long Arm)
“This patient has no history of suicides.” (Unlike that last guy, who killed himself in ’89, ‘96 & ‘03)
“Patient has chest pain if she lies on her side for over a year.” (Also known as the “Rip van Winkle” bed cramp)
“This person refused an autopsy.” (Yeah, some folks consider chest sutures a turn-off)
“On the second day the knee was better. On the third day it disappeared completely.” (Who says you have to go to Vegas to see a good magic act?)
“Examination of the genitals reveals that he is circus-sized.” (Now we’re feeling inadequate)
“Patient reports a burning sensation in his penis which goes all the way to his feet.” (Alright, enough is enough)
“It is unfortunate that this patient failed to achieve his wellness potential.” (It’s also unfortunate this doctor failed to achieve his human potential)
“It would take 20 minutes for all the human urine peed out in one day to flow over Niagara Falls.” (How can you not love these lab coat loons?)
And finally, our own personal, favorite, off-the-wall doctor scribble:
“The patient was prepped in the usual manner and the scope was introduced.” (Hi, scope!)
(Excerpts from our book, “America’s Dumbest Doctors”)
Have a relaxing weekend readers.
You maybe think these comments were never actually uttered, deep within the cloistered walls of our sophisticated healthcare system?
Ohhhhhhhh, yes they were:
(From Susan Leitner, St. Louis):
“Why did I switch to a woman doctor? Because my last idiot gynecologist used to whistle ‘I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener’ during my pelvic exams.”
(Tina Lopez, RN, Fayetteville, Arkansas):
“I can see it coming in the very near future: The night Robo-nurse calls Robo-doc away from the techno-lounge for a problem. Robo-doc throws a bio-tantrum for being bothered. Robo-nurse, in whom they totally forgot to insert the “cower & whimper” software, calmly emits an electromagnetic shockwave via the blogosphere, frying Robo-doc’s cranial wires all to hell. Robo-doc gets tossed into the bio-waste, where he belongs. Bio-nurse takes a sip of her nutra-tea, and smiles quietly.”
(Kirsten Dillow, LVN, Dallas Parkview):
“Why did I become a nurse? Well, let’s think about this. It paid slightly better than McDonald’s; I liked the idea of being surrounded by men who never act juvenile; it was an opportunity to expose myself to new and exotic diseases; and how else would I ever get to wear shoes as sexy as these?”
(Lisa Vega, RN, Dell Children’s Medical Center, Austin):
“We have a court case here in Texas where a pediatric nurse is suing a doctor for deliberately spraying blood on her. It’s your typical off-the-wall, brain-fart behavior by an obstetrician. After a delivery he was showing everybody how he’d learned to use an umbilical cord as a squirt gun. I swear to God, some female somewhere thinks he’s quite the catch.”
(Dr. Robert Bicker, Newcastle University, England):
“In Europe, bio-engineers are preparing to replace at least some nursing roles with highly-sophisticated ‘nurse bots’ capable of performing all manner of clinical duties independently.
The considerable funding from the European Union is allowing a wide range of concept and development of these rather amazing advances, and their success at creating mechanical “people” is advancing at almost warp speed.
The initial ‘three robot swarm’ is expected to be in limited use in clinical environments by early 2010.
These nurse robots will communicate with each other in teams, or what we call a ‘swarm.’ They will use their own language and be capable of teaching themselves to improve their efficiency as a unit, day by day.”
Early uses of the ‘nurse bot’ would be to clean rooms; deliver blood draw samples to the lab; determine a patient’s temperature from a distance via thermal imaging; pushing wheelchairs; alert staff when needed and eventually dispensing medications.
And in twenty years?
We appreciate this contribution from Steve Salas RN, Stanford Medical Center:
“Late-night intern games witnessed by teaching hospital nurses”
- Playing “Guess which nurse is wearing a thong”
- Competition Wheelchair Races in the hallways
- Betting which patient will “Kick the Bucket” tonight
- “Twenty Questions” shouted in a good ear
- “Hide and Go Pee” is popular
- Trying to get nurses to play “Spin the Bottle” of Mylanta
(Cassie, BSN, Mountain View Hospital, Las Vegas):
“Here in Nevada we don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Our state assembly is working on a new law that’s going to have doctors apologize for their screw-ups. That way our physician discipline policy will finally live up to . . . you know . . . the level of first-graders.”
Have a terrific weekend, readers. And we thank you for all the notes and ideas for stories you send us.