Medical Humour - Humorous Anecdotes
Referral Letters & Replies
The Worlds Worst Referral Letters
Extracts from the Patient Record
Definitely True Medical Stories
Possibly True Medical Stories
Medical Documents & Quotes
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From an article on stomach trouble :-
'Doctors are beginning to accept that stomach ulcers are infectious. They
are caused by a bug called Helicopter'.
From More! :-
'Your chance of catching an STD during your period is greater, because the
blood changes the PhD level in the vagina'.
From the Daily Mail :-
'Choking patients can now be incubated to maintain their airwaves!'
The Sunday Times explanation for the extinction of the dinosaurs :-
'The extinction may well have occurred when a steroid hit the Earth'.
Another Newspaper Misprint :-
'The Welsh international had to withdraw when the cut turned sceptic'.
From a Sunday Newspaper :-
'The surgeon said he'd removed my momentum - the funny apron of fat that
covers the intestines'.
The Worksop Bugle recently carried a news report about a chap who'd
'recovered from a tuna of the kidney'.
An excerpt from Pulse :-
'If we are over-diagnosing asthma, then we must be under-diagnosing the other
causes of nocturnal cough, such as post-natal drip'.
From a national newspaper :-
'Cutting down on fats reduces the risk of heart disease. Try to choose
unsaturated fats, which are found in red meat, milk, cheese, coconut oil,
palm oil and butter ...'
From the Daily Mail :-
'A transplant surgeon has called for a ban on "kidneys-for-ale" operations'.
From a Local Paper :-
'On the Sunday before Christmas, there will be a pot-luck supper in the
church hall, followed by prayers and medication'.
From the South Wales Evening Post :-
'Cash plea to aid dyslexic cildren'.
An interesting health tip from Q magazine :-
'In America you can buy melatonln as a vitamin supplement. It is a hormone
that your penile gland secretes when it gets dark'.
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Referral Letters and their Replies
Dermatology OPD Summary Letter :-
'We investigated this patient for latex sensitivity. She gets pinking of her
lips when she blows up balloons. She has also had problems with intercourse
that may have been related to condom exposure. I could see no point in
re-prick testing her'.
Medical Outpatient Clinic Summary :-
Fundoscopy revealed second-degree haemorrhoids, but nothing more sinister.
Referral letter to a 'venerable' Venereologist :-
'Please 'curate' this gentleman's perianal warts'.
GP referral to Orthopod :-
Dear Mr X,
I should be grateful if you could see Mrs Y, who has halitosis of both great
GP referral to a paediatrician :-
'Kindly see four-year-old James, who has had a cough since yesterday. Also,
the family pet dog has had a similar barking cough for the last few days'.
GP referral to Urologist :-
'I would be grateful if you would see this man, who is complaining of
Urology Clinic Summary :-
'I saw Mr X in my surgery on January 17. He complained of impudence during
sexual intercourse and I wonder if this is related to his beta-blocker'.
Medical Outpatients Summary :-
'This lady's blood pressure was 110/65 today. She has a long history of
GP referral to a Physician :-
'Thanks for seeing this delightful young man with a BP of 170/100. I think we
ought to exclude another cause apart from sensual'.
Local Health Authority letter to a lady expecting her first child :-
Dear Lucy, We have been informed that you are pregnant by your GP. Your
local team of midwives will be contacting you shortly.
Gynaecologist's Letter to a GP :-
Thank you for referring this patient. Her leaking occurs with coughing,
sneezing, and exercise, such as running. She would like to do more exercise,
but the incontinence inhibits her. She does, however, carry on swimming.
Surgical Discharge Summary :-
I think this patient's RIF pain may be due to something like a crumbling
Urology Clinic Summary Letter :-
Mr X has obstructive europathy. It needs relieving by a catheter.
Histopathology report :-
Some areas of the necrotic material seem to show the ghastly outlines of
Letter from a Consultant Physician to a GP in the 1950's :-
Many thanks for sending Mrs X to see me. Her blood pressure is 170/120, and
she has tortuous retinal arteries.
There is nothing in this that can account for her symptoms, and these must
be regarded as psychological. Her complaints seem to consist of feeling
tired, having to lie down and difficulty in concentrating. Once, after being
in London (? date), she had laryngitis, and wondered if she was prone to
Such symptoms as these are surely in the mind. I should be inclined to call
her complaint just hysteria, so that she can dodge her work and make her
daughter do it. I told her straight out that there was no disease that ever
could cause such symptoms as she complained of, and to expect a pill to turn
a lazy person into an energetic one or to move a child from the bottom of
the class to the top was expecting too much of the medical profession.
Certainly, we would do our best with tonics. I had in mind Benzedrine first
thing in the morning and again before lunch, in association with a small
dose of phenobarbitone.
I was able to have a quick word with the husband. He seemed a sensible
fellow, and I formed the impression that he himself regarded his wife's
symptoms as psychological.
He knows about her high blood pressure but I am sure it would be fatal to
mention it to the patient. That would indeed be presenting her with a stick
to beat us with.
Absolutely! Much better for her to just take the Benzedrine and
phenobarbitone. I'm sure you'll agree.
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The World's Worst Referral Letters
GP Referral to Accident & Emergency :-
The patient was suffering from chest pain. The referral letter was written
on a ripped off top of a cereal packet and said : 'Dear doctor, Query heart'.
The patient was examined at the hospital and declared OK, so the casualty
officer sent a note to the GP involved saying "Dear doctor, Heart present".
GP Letter to an Outpatient Clinic :-
Dear Dr W,
Regards Mrs X, Bradford-upon-Avon.
Please see and advise.
The letter got the following reply :-
Dear Dr Y,
I have seen your patient and advise you to do the same.
I am apparently referring this man to you!
Unfortunately I can't find any records in the notes as to why, but
I'm sure you will find out.
Yours sincerely with kind regards.
Dear colleague, Pain chest since long time. I think there might be something
wrong with him. Hoping your kind attention.
Dear Sir, Big heart. Second opinion please.
GP referral to small rural A&E Department in Ireland 1982 :-
Please suture this man's hand. I couldn't be boddered. [sic]
GP Referral to a Neurologist :-
Please could you see this man. ? Head.
GP letter to a Consultant Radiologist :-
Re: John Smith. This 57-year-old builder is requesting a CAT scan on his
lumbar spine to be performed on a private fee-paying basis. Mr Smith is a
malcontent of the first order and holds a very warped view of life in
I see no harm in acceding to his request although he expresses his contempt
for orthopaedic surgeons, chiropractors, osteopaths, acupuncturists and, not
least, GPs, so you might as well join the list.
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Extracts from the Patient Record!
The following quotes were taken from actual medical records dictated by
physicians. Some are taken from a column written by Richard Lederer (Ph.D)
in the Journal of Court Reporting.
By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart had stopped, and he was feeling
Patient gets chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
The patient states there is a burning pain in his penis which goes to his
On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely
She has had no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was
very hot in bed last night.
I will be happy to go into her GI system; she seems ready and anxious.
The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be
Discharge status: Alive but without permission. The patient will need
disposition, and we will therefore get Dr. X to dispose of him.
Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful.
The patient refused an autopsy.
The patient has no past history of suicides.
The patient expired on the floor uneventfully.
Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.
The patient's past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with
only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.
She slipped on the ice and apparently her legs went in separate directions
in early December.
The patient experienced sudden onset of severe shortness of breath with a
picture of acute pulmonary edema at home whilst having sex which gradually
deteriorated in the emergency room.
The patient left the hospital feeling much better except for her original
Patient's fluid intake is good, mostly beer.
Patient has neck veins distended down to ankles.
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Definitely True Medical Stories - I'm not kidding!
A 28-year old male was brought into the ER after an attempted suicide. The
man had swallowed several nitroglycerin pills and a bottle of vodka. When
asked about the bruises about his head and chest he said that they were from
him ramming himself into the wall in an attempt to make the nitroglycerin
A 35-year-old male was transported to our Emergency Department by rescue
unit from his doctor's office.
The patient presented to his physician's office complaining of decreased
appetite, restlessness, and confusion over the prior three days. The man
stated that he had been working under the hood of his car and had leaned on
the battery, causing an arc and sending him crashing to the ground, striking
the back of his head.
The man returned home that day to his wife, telling her of the
accident. The man's wife noted an "abrasion" to the back of his skull, and
cleaned the wound. However, over the next three days, the man became
increasingly confused, anorexic, and at times agitated.
The man's physician deemed it necessary to obtain a CT and further
evaluation, and ordered transport to the ED. On arrival to the department,
the ER physician ordered the CT of the brain, concluding that perhaps the
patient had suffered a brain injury secondary to the reported mechanism of
injury - falling and striking the back of his head. As the patients primary
nurse, I went to fetch the patient from CT.
I asked the CT technician, who was noticeably worried, for a preliminary
reading. "There is a bullet in his brain." Incredulous, I returned the
patient to the ED with the news, and the definitive reading came minutes
later - foreign body located between the hemispheres, likely a
Apparently, the man had not been arced by the battery, but had been shot in
the back of the head with a 9mm handgun, and was not aware of this
fact! The patient was admitted to ICU, but no surgery was performed - the
neurosurgeon felt that the procedure was too risky.
He survived and was discharged (curiously, in police custody) 10 days later.
In Istambul, a man was recently admitted to hospital with 2 broken legs,
a fractured pelvis, and severe burns to his genitals.
Apparently, his wife tried to kill a cockroach first by stamping on it, then
by trying to flush it down the toilet, then spraying it with a bug spray
whilst it floated in the bowl.
The ill-fated gentleman then rushed in to urinate, and dropped his cigarette
butt into the toilet. The fumes ignited, causing the aforementioned
Paramedics were duly summonded, who put him on a stretcher, and then when
told how it had happened, laughed so much that they dropped him down the
stairs breaking his legs and pelvis.
The South African Floor Polisher Massacre - Reported
in the Cape Times.
The paper reports that every Friday over a period of months a couple of
years ago, hospital staff found the patient occupying a certain bed in
intensive care lying dead with no apparent cause. At first it seemed
coincidental. Then doctors feared a 'killer disease'.
Finally, a nurse noticed the Friday cleaning lady doing her weekly
chores. This maid would enter the ward, unplug the life-support system
beside the bed, plug in her floor polisher, clean the ward, and once again
plug in the patient, leaving no trace of the cause of the patient's
How many died in the South African Floor Polisher Massacre? Possibly
several. The Free State health and welfare department won't comment but is
From an article in the Los Angeles Times :-
"In retrospect, lighting the match was my big mistake, but I was only trying
to retrieve the gerbil", Eric Tomaszewski told bemused doctors in the Sever
Burns Unit of Salt Lake City Hospital.
Tomaszewski, and his homosexual partner Andrew "Kiki" Farnum, had been
admitted for emergency treatment after a felching session had gone seriously
wrong. "I pushed a cardboard tube up his rectum and slipped Raggot, our
gerbil, in," he explained. "As usual, Kiki shouted "Armageddon" my cue that
he'd had enough. I tried to retrieve Raggot but he wouldn't come out again,
so I peered into the tube and struck a match, thinking the light might
At a hushed press conference, a hospital spokesman described what happened
next. "The match ignited a pocket of intestinal gas and a flame shot out of
the tube, igniting Mr Tomaszewski's hair and severely burning his face. It
also set fire to the gerbil's fur and whiskers, which in turn ignited a
larger pocket of gas further up the intestinal tract, propelling the gerbil
out like a cannonball.
Tomaszewski suffered second-degree burns and a broken nose from the impact
of the gerbil, while Farnum suffered first and second degree burns to his
anus and lower intestinal tract.
The bravest doctor that I‘ve heard about this month is an Italian surgeon
called Gastone Veroux. He and his wife were in a bad car crash in rural
Sicily and they were both taken off to the local hospital where Gastone is
the top surgeon.
Although he was pretty shocked, he was more concerned about his wife
Giovanna's severe abdominal contusion. It soon became apparent that she had
to have a splenectomy and fast.
Almost incredibly, Signor Veroux got up off his casualty trolley, staggered
to the operating theatre, scrubbed up and went ahead and took his wife's
He was assisted by his son Pierfrancesco, who is the Italian equivalent of
an SHO at the same hospital. After closing up, Gastone was taken back to
Accidente e Bisogno Urgente to be treated for his injuries.
This actually happened!
A consultant gastroenterologist was lying in the intensive care unit with a
myocardial infarct when the patient in the next bed arrested. Without
hesitation, the doctor jumped up, diagnosed ventricular fibrillation,
administered instant defibrillation and thereby saved the man's life.
An old lady dialled 999 after falling over in her house at Iffley,
Oxfordshire. She didn‘t wake the other members of the family.
As the ambulancemen were carrying her out of the front door on a stretcher,
her son roused from his slumbers by the noise staggered onto the landing,
panicked at the sight of strange men in his home, and tripped all the way
downstairs, knocking himself out.
His wife came rushing out of the bedroom to see what was wrong.
Observing her husband lying on the hall floor, she promptly fainted and fell
The paramedics now had THREE casualties to take to A&E instead of one.
The tally rapidly became four when the family dog rampaged furiously into
the hall, and inflicted an indignant bite on the bottom of one of the
A spokesman for the Oxford Ambulance Service said: It was quite a night,
Going Nuts in Brazil
More trouble in the operating theatre, I'm afraid.
Surgical readers may sometimes get irritated with their anaesthetists but at
least they don't usually follow the example of top Brazilian general surgeon
Mr Marcelino Da Silva.
Senor Da Silva was taking out an appendix in a hospital in Rio de Janeiro
when he began arguing loudly with Dr Barcelos, who was gassing for him.
The subject of the dispute was, of course, the fee for the
procedure. Tempers flared and eventually the 60-year-old Da Silva
pulled out a pistol from under his operating gown and shot the
anestesiologista. Throwing down the gun, he then fled the theatre.
Interns and residents tried to save poor Dr Barcelos, but, I'm afraid, in
While all this was going on, the patient inevitably woke up, had a look at
the situation, and fainted onto the floor.
If Mr Da Silva ends up being executed, this could turn into an operation
with quite a high mortality.
At the Medical Center in Worcester, Massachusetts, two surgeons recently
fell out during a laparotomy.
Nurses started screaming in fright but this didn't put off the two surgical
gents. As they grew crosser and crosser, they actually tried to stab each
other with their scalpels.
Eventually they calmed down and finished the operation. The patient
survived and the Massachusetts authorities ordered both surgeons to undergo
This young woman brought her child into Children's Hospital for a routine
check-up. On the records, the nurse saw that the child's first name was
Urine (pronounced Urin-ie). Not wanting to be rude, but wanting to know why
this woman would name her child this, the nurse asked her how Urine got her
The woman explained, "Well, my baby was born premature and had to stay in
the special nursery. She was real sick and they didn't know if she would
make it. I couldn't decide what to name her, but the nurses said they
would pray for her. One day I came in and the nurses had already named
her. There was this paper on her incubator that said 'Please save Urine',
so I knew that they had named my baby."
One of the nursing students from the local community college was supposed
to collect a sterile urine specimen from her patient. Imagine the surprise
on the staff nurse's faces when they found the student sterilizing the urine
in the unit kitchen - by boiling it on the stove!
Working as a supervisor in a long-term care facility for a short while I ran
across this tale.
A patient with a trach had become dehydrated as they often do in nursing
homes and had IV hydration ordered.
Well, this brilliant angle of death connected the IV tubing to the trach
cuff inflation port instead of her Groshong and couldn't understand why the
patient became progressively shorter of breath until she finally
She was terminated on the spot but is still working to my understanding.
At a Transitional Care Center in this area a float nurse from the agency had
a patient with a tracheotomy and a Passe-Meure valve (a talking valve).
She thought it would be nice for the patient to spend some time outside of
his room and to be able to talk to other patients and visitors.
She was busy so she helped the man into his wheel chair, popped on the valve
and wheeled him out into the day room (which was right in front of the
nurses desk) and left him there.
About 5 minutes later a visitor came to the desk and stated "I think that
man over there is dead!"
The nurse had not deflated the cuff on the trach, so the man could only
inhale, and could not exhale due to the valve. The man, of course, was
In the hospital that I work in, a Dark Angel from an inpatient rehab floor
was giving antibiotics to a patient on the night shift. The nurse was very
upset because she couldn't find the medication in the cassettes. So she
finally found the pill version and crushed them up and mixed them with
sterile water and injected it into the IV bag. The patient suddenly was
gasping for air. When the code was called and the doctor arrived, the IV
bag was yellow. Needless to say, the patient died.
Trach care is a common task in long-term facilities. It involves cleaning
around the trach site with hydrogen peroxide, providing clean drain sponges
and cleaning the inner cannula of the trach. All this helps to prevent
infection. It is apparent that this Dark Angel has yet to master this
skill. Wait, that's not fair ... this nurse has no earthly idea HOW to do
trach care. Rather than clean with the peroxide, she simply POURED it down
his trach! Oh yes, the patient survived.
Here's one that really did happen in our hospital. A very pretty Swedish
medical student was admitted to the medical wards suffering from
pneumonia. During the Professorial ward round the Houseman was asked to
inspect the lady's chest for abnormal breath sounds. Having just come out
of his final exam and remembering that one had to examine the chest free
from clothes, he sheepishly asked the patient-medical student to undress and
examined her with his stethoscope. All was going well until he noted that
everybody was in hysterics and the Swedish medical student asked him if he
might wish to listen to her lungs again, but this time with the stethoscope
in his ears.
Fairly early in my career, we were called to a nursing home for a man who
could not urinate despite being catheterized. This had been going on for 3
days. The gentleman was in quite a bit of distress. He was already dressed
to go to the hospital, so we put him on a stretcher and took him to the
ER. Cath-Care was not a paramedic skill in our service, so we figured it
was another "call and haul". In the ER, when we helped the nurse get the
man undressed, we discovered there was a knot in the catheter. When the
knot was untied, the patient was able to urinate. The patient survived, and
the doctor later told us it was best that we hadn't discovered the knot in
the field. Had the nurses and doctors not seen it for themselves, they
would not have believed us!
We were called for a man who had just bought a pair of cowboy boots to wear
to the Friday night poker game. Since the boots were new, they were hard to
get on and off. The man developed an itch on his ankle, and being a bright
man with 3 beers in him, went out to the kitchen and got a long and very
sharp knife. He slid the knife repeatedly into the boot, and soon the
itching disappeared. Later, when someone went to get another beer, a large
puddle of blood was found under the table. By the time we got there, the
patient was clearly in shock. The patient lived, but to bandage his leg, we
had to cut the boot off.
A young female came to the ER with lower abdominal pain. During the exam
and questioning the female denied being sexually active. The doctor gave
her a pregnancy test anyway and it came back positive. The doctor went back
to the young female's room.
Doctor: "The results of your pregnancy test came back positive. Are you
sure you're not sexually active?"
Patient: "Sexually active? No sir, I just lay there."
Doctor: "I see. Well, do you know who the father is?"
Patient: "No. Who?"
An elderly woman came into the ER complaining: "I got the green vines in my
virginny". A pelvic exam verifies that she did, indeed, have a six-inch
vine growing out of her vagina. Further inspection revealed that she had a
mass in her vaginal vault. It was easily removed and looked very much like
a potato. It was, indeed, a potato. The patient said that her uterus was
falling out and that she "put a potato in there to hold it up" and then
forgot about it.
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Possibly True Medical Stories
You come across some strange stories in medicine, don't you?
One of the oddest I've ever heard was allegedly published in an American
journal in 1874, and then printed in The Lancet of 1875.
It's about a method of human fertilisation which even the Bourn Hall Clinic
has not yet achieved ...
Apparently, a battle was going on in Missouri at the height of the Civil
War. A Yankee bullet struck a handsome young Southern officer in the
testicle. It then carried on, and hit a beautiful 17-year-old girl (who was
tending the wounded), somewhere in the region of McBurney‘s point.
The soldier survived, and so did the young woman though only after a bout of
peritonitis. But 278 days after she had sustained the bullet wound, she
gave birth to an eight pound baby boy!
The doctors who were in attendance were in no doubt as to what had
happened. The Northern bullet must have carried the Confederate gentleman's
sperm into her abdominal cavity, where it had fertilised one of her
Their case was strengthened a few weeks after delivery when a medical man
noticed a curious hard swelling in the baby's scrotum.
He operated to remove it and found the squashed remains of a
Like all good stories, this one has a happy ending. The Southern belle
eventually married the young officer, and they had two further children per
Reference - The American Medical Weekly of November 7, 1874.
It is by a Dr L.G. Capers of Vicksburg, Mississippi who claimed to have been
the medical attendant of the young lady in question. He says that her hymen
was intact before delivery, and that furthermore he was the man who removed
the Union bullet from the baby's scrotum.
However, there is a sequel. Two weeks later, Dr Capers wrote to The American
Medical Weekly, withdrawing all responsibility for the story. He now said
that it was merely told to him!
More about famous medical myths (or are they true?)
The patient in question was the daughter of an Indian maharajah. During
the last days of British rule, she became pregnant and consulted an RAMC
obstetrician. All seemed to be well with her and what with one thing and
another he didn't see her again until she arrived at the hospital in
labour. Somebody noted down that the foetal movements were "odd".
As the second stage of labour progressed, the consultant realised that he
was dealing with a very peculiar presentation indeed. It was impossible to
feel a vertex, a breech or any of the normal appendages of a baby.
And when delivery occurred, what emerged was ... a smallish python. Shortly
afterwards came a withered human foetus which, it appeared, the snake had
suffocated some time previously.
Grim stuff, eh? Subsequent investigation by the obstetrician revealed that
early in her pregnancy, the poor woman had paused in a patch of jungle to
relieve herself. While squatting down, she had experienced a curious
sensation of something entering her body ...
When you've recovered from your shudders, can someone please tell me: is it
all nonsense? Or is this horrendous case history genuinely written up in a
medical journal somewhere?
You can believe this story or not, as you choose.
At a tourist centre in County Cork I was woken in the middle of the night by
an agitated hotel owner.
"Doctor, doctor," he cried. "Would you please come down to the kitchen and
tell us if these bones we've found are human ones?
When I got downstairs, I found that part of a wall had collapsed. Inside
the cavity was a perfectly well-preserved human skeleton.
Around its cervical spine was a gold chain, from which dangled a large
On it these words were inscribed : Irish Hide-and-Seek Champion 1927
Senior Citizens Beat Inflation
A couple aged 67 went to the Doctors Office.
The Doctor asked "What can I do for you"?
The man said "Will you watch us have sexual intercourse"?
The Doctor looked puzzled - but agreed.
When the couple had finished, the Doctor said,
"There is nothing wrong with the way you have intercourse";
and charged them £32.
This happened several weeks in a row.
The couple would make an appointment, have intercourse,
pay the Doctor and leave.
Finally, the Doctor asked "Just exactly what are you
trying to find out"?
The old man said "We are not trying to find out anything;
She is married and we can't go to her house;
I am married and we can't go to my house;
The Holiday Inn charges £60. The Hilton charges £78,
We do it here for £32 and I get £28 back from
BUPA for a visit to the Doctors Office".
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Medical Documents & Quotes
From a Health Education Authority leaflet on Sexually Transmitted
"We don't know why, but it seems that men don't get bacterial vaginosis."
An apology that appeared recently in The Safety And Health Practitioner
We would like to apologise to readers for the late arrival of our March
issue, which was entitled 'Flammable Materials : Controlling the Hazard!'
The delay was caused by a fire at the printers.
Advert in the BMJ :-
FOR SALE : Real bone half-skeleton, in better condition than seller. £250.
Seen in the BBC canteen in Manchester :-
In the interests of hygiene, please use tongues when picking up your baked
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As a nurse midwife in a hospital, we know babies are slippery. After
delivering the baby, the doctor dropped it into the bucket. Fortunately, it
wasn't harmed. Then, he dropped it a second time, and again, the baby was
unharmed. And what was the doctor's quick remark to the parents? "Sometimes
we have to drop them twice to get them to cry."
Patient : These tablets have a very funny effect on my bowels.
Surgeon : What are they?
Patient : Ferocious sulphate.
Doctor : Are you on HRT?
Patient : No, income support.
Overheard in a busy clinic as a receptionist spoke to an obviously
"No Mrs Smith, not the HEARSE, I'm sending the NURSE!"
I worked in surgery for almost 15 years, and we had a cardiac surgeon that
was a "good ol' boy" (well, we are in Fort Worth!). After the surgery was
over he would always tell us: "The patient will be okay if he does just
A retired consultant physician tells that when he sent a patient to the
Royal Naval Hospital she reported that they had "put up a periscope and
found an atomic bladder!"
One evening while working in the ER, I received a call from a patient who
had recently visited the department. She said to me, "You all gave me this
subscription for depositories, but I still can't go to the toilet." I had
to think about that for a minute.
A GU consultant from north Wales tells me that while passing through a
frantic ENT clinic, he overheard this curious bit of conversation:
Senior surgeon (angrily) : For heavens sake, nurse, get me my auriscope!
Distracted young nurse : But doctor, I don't even knew your star sign.
One night, when I was working as an RN at a trauma center in Chicago, a
young male was brought in after being shot by an off-duty police officer
during an attempted robbery. The man did suffer from multiple gun shot
wounds, but would eventually make a complete recovery. His sister came in
about an hour after the patient arrived, and when informed that her brother
was shot during the commission of the robbery, remarked to me (and I swear
this is true!) "They shot him for that? He's robbed people before and they
never shot him. Why did they shoot him this time?"
A former radiologist from Northern Ireland tells that years ago, kitted
up in leaden apron and gloves, he was conducting a radiographic examination
of a woman's abdomen.
Finding that her clothing was causing some opacity on the fluorescent
screen, he remarked: "Would you pull down your knickers, please?"
The patient did nothing so he repeated the request. He then heard her say:
"I'm so sorry, doctor. I thought you were talking to the nurse."
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This information came over the internet some years ago. It purports to be
the answers given by students in science exams around the world. It came
with the comment that "it is truly astonishing what weird science our young
scholars can create under the pressure of time and grades?." I was unable
to trace the author, but as the work deserves wider dissemination, I present
here the answers of most interest to a medical audience.
"The body consists of three parts - the brainium, the borax, and the
abominable cavity. The brainium contains the brain; the borax, the heart
and lungs; and the abominable cavity, the bowls, of which there are five -
a, e, i, o, and u."
"When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe, you expire"
"Respiration consists of two acts: first inspiration, then
"The three kinds of blood vessels are arteries, veins, and caterpillars."
"The alimentary canal is located in the northern part of Alabama."
"A permanent set of teeth consists of eight canines, eight cuspids, two
molars, and eight cuspidors."
"The skeleton is what is left after the insides have been taken out and the outsides have been taken off. The purpose of the skeleton is something to hitch meat on."
"Artificial insemination is when the farmer does it to the cow instead
of the bull."
"To prevent contraception, wear a condominium."
"Many women believe that an alcoholic binge will have no effects on the
unborn fetus, but that is a large misconception."
"Before giving a blood transfusion, find out if the blood is affirmative or
Eyes and nose:
"To remove dust from the eye: pull the eye down over the nose."
"For nosebleeds, put the nose lower than the body until the heart stops."
"For a cold: use an agoniser to spray the nose until it drops in your throat."
"For fainting: rub the person's chest or, if a lady, rub her arm above the head instead. Or put the head between the knees of the nearest doctor."
"For asphyxiation: apply artificial respiration until the patient is dead."
"For drowning: climb on top of the person and move up and down to make
"For dog bite: put the dog away for several days. If he has not recovered,
then kill it."
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