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JAMA 100 Years Ago
March 14, 2012

MEDICAL HUMOR

JAMA. 2012;307(10):1005. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.148

For relaxation from his serious work the physician finds little humor that is distinctly medical, and so occasionally creates it. We commented some time ago on the humorous special number of a German medical weekly. Now comes the Journal of Humorous Medicine, a supplement to the February number of the California State Journal of Medicine. It contains some alleged articles, a play, etc., read before the San Francisco County Medical Society, when the members evidently had a night off. A report is made of a singular case, pleural in origin, in which a man who did not go out much suffered from roomertism, and, though a high liver, showed signs of hepatoptosis. In an accident reported, a physician fractured his coccyx when attempting to sit on a weakly constructed chair placed by a patient's bedside. The editor remarks that this is the first instance of the doctor's carelessness in examination of stools. Announcement is made of a vaccine of the hay bacillus which cures hay fever, while one made of melon seeds will cure meloncholia. Some jokes are rather labored, but what of it? The intentions are good and the results happy. We congratulate the editor, Dr. Philip Mills Jones. Another piece of medical facetiousness just received is the MedicalGewalt, “officious organ of the Associated Alumni of Mount Sinai Hospital, New York: published for the disintegration of medical inflammation; foundered 1902; resuscitated annually.” This eight-page periodical is said to be “copy writ by the editor and admitted to be second-class stuff.” It contains original articles, society reports, editorials, etc. The editor dodges responsibility with the remark: “If the Gewalt does not please you—forget it. We have other troubles.” THE JOURNAL is flattered by several pertinent references. Our Department of Queries and Minor Notes is imitated. To a correspondent who asks for references to the literature and says: “For example, what can I find on bread?” the editor answers “Butter.” In a society report someone is reported as having conducted the ceremonies in “his usual happy, external jocular vein.” In the advertising department we find: Antiflowgistine for leukorrhea; U Reform for cystitis; Amour and Company's He Licks Her Ten Times, which is recommended as an aid to digestion and a good vehicle for idiots, bromids, etc.; Sharp and Do’ Em's complete line of tablets of all varieties, from alimentary to the cemetery; Mennen's Powder for meningitis; Victor Cackle & Co.'s Slamiton, Pileiton, Prurital, Damitall, Watsitphor, etc. An announcement in the advertising department states that the Gewalt will not admit to its advertising pages any of the proprieties. Judging by some of the advertisements, this caution is not out of place.

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