Medical Humor

For Doctors

I finished my pediatric residency in June 1980 and began my career at the George Washington University Medical Center the following month. My job involved taking care of children as well as teaching medical students and pediatric residents about primary care pediatrics. I worked at GW for eleven years before joining a private practice in Washington, DC in 1991.

I loved my job at GW and put together lots of educational material for our trainees. I learned early on that humor has a place in medical education. It’s hard work being a doctor, and poking fun at what we do is an effective way to provide a balance to ones life. (If you’d like to read more about the value of humor in medicine, see the following article: Bennett HJ: Humor in medicine, Southern Medical Journal 2003;96:1257-1261.)

The first humorous article I published was titled, “How to Survive a Case Presentation.” It appeared in the prestigious medical journal CHEST in 1985. For the next two decades, I wrote medical humor for journals ranging from JAMA to Postgraduate Medicine. I edited the Humor in Medicine column for the Journal of Family Practice from 1995 to 1999.

In 2003, I published a letter in the New England Journal of Medicine titled, “Hogwarts Headaches: Misery for Muggles.” The letter wasn’t meant to be serious, but I got calls from all over the world asking me if JK Rowling’s books were bad for kids. They aren’t. The letter merely suggested that kids should take breaks to prevent getting headaches from holding the books for hours on end.

Copyright issues prevent me from posting articles I published in medical journals, but most of them are available in my book, The Best of Medical Humor. From 1999 to 2005, I wrote for Stitches, a medical humor magazine published in Canada. I have posted my favorite Stitches articles on the website.


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