Divorce, Medical Style

By Howard J. Bennett, MD

News Item—The Journal of the American Medical Association has decided to expand the coverage of its member’s lives. Now, in addition to the obituary page, the journal will present a section devoted to marriage announcements and divorces.

Split Egos

Psychiatrists Penelope Meyers and Arthur Slesinger are calling it quits. Dr. Slesinger, a strict Freudian, filed for divorce immediately after hearing that his wife, a psychopharmacologist, gave Prozac to their 4-year-old Labrador retriever.

In her defense, Dr. Meyers remarked that Barney had been depressed for months and the therapy her husband was performing wouldn’t help a fly. “If I hadn’t stepped in,” the cool Dr. Meyers said, “Barney would need a straightjacket by now.”

The couple’s lawyers, both of whom take Zoloft, predict that the settlement will take years to iron out. In the meantime, Barney will stay at the New England Holistic Animal Shelter where dogs eat an additive-free diet, and the only psychotherapy they get is chasing squirrels.

Suture Self

Samantha Thomas-Watkins, RN and Henry Watkins, MD got divorced last Monday after a tumultuous marriage that lasted three weeks.

Watkins, who is a resident in general surgery, proposed to Ms. Thomas at 2 a.m. during a complicated bowel procedure. The couple had been infatuated with each other for months. Ms. Thomas told her nursing colleagues that Dr. Watkins’ smooth moves inside the abdominal cavity swept her off her feet. For his part, Dr. Watkins felt that Ms. Thomas had a way with surgical clamps that was just dazzling.

The two of them were often seen late at night sharing a tray of uneaten hospital food whenever a patient had unexpectedly crashed and been transferred to the intensive care unit. Unfortunately, the pressure of residency training was too much for the union to last. One week after Dr. Watkins rotated to cardiac surgery, his wife saw an operating room nurse massage his gluteus maximus during a triple bypass.

There is no estate to divide unless you count the $200,000 Dr. Watkins owes for his undergraduate and medical school education.

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

Drs. Gloria Whitehead and Reginald Thomas have divorced following a rancorous dispute that threatens to destroy their dermatology empire.

Spurred on by the country’s obsession with good looks, Dr. Whitehead pioneered the idea of combining skin care with fast food. Her chain of Burger ‘n’ Derm Restaurants grossed over 10 billion last year. The concept is simple. Since the average dermatology appointment takes the same amount of time as bagging an order of burgers and fries, why not combine the two? After patrons/patients put in their order, a board-certified dermatologist checks for pimples, warts, and other skin lesions. In most cases, treatment is completed before the food arrives. A follow-up visit is occasionally required, in which case the patient is checked again after ordering dessert.

Unfortunately, Reginald—a lowly internist—became despondent over his wife’s meteoric rise to the top of the medical and fast food industry. “It got so people were calling me Mister Whitehead,” Reginald said during a recent interview. “I’m just glad I signed that prenuptial agreement. Now we’ll see who pops the last zit!”

Sorry, Charlie

Tuna heiress, Sally Wingate, and internationally known fertility specialist, Dr. Steven Becker, have separated after three years of marriage.

The couple, which has been featured on the covers of People, Fishing Times, Ladies Home Journal, and Fertility News, cited a childless marriage as the reason for the split. “When we first got married, I didn’t mind the long hours Steven put in,” said an emotionally drained Ms. Wingate. “I was busy at the cannery and raising money for endangered species like the South American horny toad.”

As Ms. Wingate spent more time in the public eye, Dr. Becker put his energy into getting other women pregnant. “My husband is very good at his job,” Ms. Wingate said at a press conference announcing their decision. “It’s too bad he didn’t put his eggs in someone else’s basket.”

To Death Do Us Part

Pathologists Verruca Ashford Stein and George Cornelius Smith have divorced after forty-five years of marriage.

The couple, both full professors at Harvard Medical School, have published over 3,000 scientific papers together. Although formal charges have not been filed, Dr. Smith contends that his wife is guilty of assault with a shaky weapon.

“The nearsighted old biddy had been asking me for years to get a mole looked at,” Dr. Smith told his lawyer. “When I refused, she slipped a sedative into my mashed potatoes and did a biopsy after I fell asleep watching a rerun of M*A*S*H.”

Smith’s lawyer said he couldn’t file criminal charges because his wife is a licensed physician even though she did a lousy job on the stitches. Dr. Smith will retain custody of his dour personality while his wife will get the house, cars, yacht, and their 12-year-old cat, Nutmeg. Their slide collection of tissue samples taken from British royalty and ex-performance artists will be split equally.

On Again, Off Again

Internist Harry London and malpractice attorney Bonnie Seltzer are splitting up—again. This is the fourth marriage for both parties and the second time they have divorced each other.

“It’s the work that keeps pulling us apart,” Dr. London told a patient during a recent prostate exam. Ms. Seltzer voiced similar complaints, stating the only way she got to see her husband was in court (she’s sued two of his partners) or by scheduling an appointment to see him in the office. “Last month I had to get an EKG and a fasting cholesterol count just to find out if he’d come to my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary.”

Ms. Seltzer vowed at her weekly support group for sexually frustrated lawyers that she would never marry Dr. London again. The couple has two adult children who own and operate a kelp farm in British Columbia.

© 2012 Howard J. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.

(First published in Stitches, The Journal of Medical Humor September 1999.)

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