Obituaries for TV Doctors

By Howard J. Bennett, MD

Although doctors in TV dramas have more to fear from network executives than the vicissitudes of life, here’s how some of them might meet their maker if reality impinged on their fictional lives.

Frasier Crane Dies At Downtown Restaurant

Dr. Frasier Crane died today after choking on a piece of medium-rare Chateaubriand at a trendy Seattle restaurant.

Dr. Crane was dining with his brother Niles when the accident occurred. According to witnesses, Dr. Crane had just finished a glass of Mouton-Rothschild (1948), when he took the fateful bite of his elegantly prepared meal. His brother tried to do a Heimlich maneuver, but faltered for a moment, thus allowing the meat to lodge deeper into Dr. Crane’s trachea. A diner who was sitting at a nearby table commented that Niles appeared to hesitate because he didn’t want to wrinkle his $2,000 Armani suit.

The residents of Seattle will miss Frasier Crane and the psychiatric wisdom he dispensed so expertly over the years. In his will, Dr. Crane left his entire estate to his father’s dog, Eddie.

Star Trek’s Best Dies During Surgery

Leonard “Bones” McCoy died today while performing surgery at Starbase 405.

Dr. McCoy was doing a thalamic bypass on a suicidal Klingon when the end came. He had just asked for a cortical stimulator when he looked up, grinned almost imperceptibly, and collapsed on the floor. His long-time nurse, Christine Chapel, ran the code but nothing they did could revive the venerable doctor.

Dr. McCoy was 148-years-old at the time of his death. All of his joints and most of his internal organs had been replaced.

Leonard McCoy was one of the most decorated physicians in Star Fleet history. He is survived by his personal tricorder and a book of epigrams entitled, Dammit Jim, I’m a Doctor, Not a Bricklayer!

It was Dr. McCoy’s final wish that his remains be kept at Star Fleet Headquarters until the death of Mr. Spock, at which time the ashes of both Enterprise officers be laid side by side. That way, McCoy’s molecular remains could annoy Spock for all eternity.

Marcus Welby, Gone at Last!

Marcus Welby is dead at 93. The famous doctor had been a resident at Heaven’s Gate, a posh California nursing home, since the late 1980’s.

Dr. Welby led a charmed life until his former associate, Dr. Steven Kiley, got fed up playing second fiddle to his infallible senior partner. Overcome with jealously, Kiley sabotaged a few of Dr. Welby’s diagnoses, resulting in two high-profile malpractice cases. After Dr. Welby lost the second lawsuit, public opinion turned against him and his license to practice medicine was ultimately revoked.

“It serves him right,” Dr. Kiley said to a reporter after the much-publicized trials. “The old windbag couldn’t diagnose his way out of a paper bag.”

Dr. Welby was an active member of the Heaven’s Gate community, playing shuffle board, drooling in front of the TV, and trying to do physical examinations on anyone who would hang around long enough for him to find his stethoscope. Unfortunately, the other residents got tired of Dr. Welby’s platitudes, and he spent his last years alone watching reruns of Ben Casey. (He always regretted not becoming a surgeon.)

The cause of Dr. Welby’s demise has yet to be determined, though staff members believe he probably talked himself to death.

Hawkeye Pierce Checks Out of M*A*S*H—Permanently

Hawkeye Pierce died today after losing a long battle with cirrhosis.

“He fought to the end,” said his bunkmate and fellow surgeon, B.J. Hunnicut, “but all those homemade martinis we downed in the swamp must have taken a toll on Hawkeye’s liver.”

For most of his career, Hawkeye was known as a deft surgeon, lovable womanizer, and quick wit. During his final months, he kept his spirits up by propositioning nurses from his wheelchair and finding new ways to torture the pompous Major Winchester.

Hawkeye’s estate includes a 50% share in his still, his collection of nudist magazines, and a pair of Groucho Marx glasses he used to wear in the post-op ward.

The Staff of ER Is Defibrillated to Death

Mark Green, beloved ER attending and role model, had a psychotic break last night and “shocked” the entire staff of County General’s emergency department.

One by one, Dr. Green called his colleagues into the trauma room to ask their opinion about a fictitious patient he was working up. Then, when his colleagues’ backs were turned, Dr. Green took out a set of defibrillator paddles and “zapped” them to death.

He got away with his gruesome scheme because it was a slow night in the emergency room and everyone was watching the NBA playoffs in the lounge. Most of the staff were taken out with one jolt, but Benton required two and the obnoxious surgeon, Romano, needed three plus and a dose of lidocaine to do the job.

When questioned by police, Dr. Green said he was tired of being the one that everyone looked up to all the time.

“I was under tremendous pressure,” he told one detective. “Not only do I have to remember my lines, but I have to be perfect all the time and it’s impossible to do that when I’m concentrating on words like electrolytes, cardiac enzymes, and peritoneal lavage.”

Funeral services will be held this weekend at Michael Crichton’s home in Beverly Hills. Mourners will be able to view the bodies and choose whom they’d like to see as new staff members in the fall lineup.

© 2012 Howard J. Bennett. All Rights Reserved.

(First published in Stitches, The Journal of Medical Humor June 2001.)

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