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October 8, 1997

The Best of Medical Humor: A Collection of Articles, Essays, Poetry, and Letters Published in the Medical Literature

Author Affiliations

McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Medical College of Virginia Richmond
Edited by Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor; Jonathan D. Eldredge, MLS, PhD, University of New Mexico, Health Sciences Center Library, Journal Review Editor; adviser for new media, Robert Hogan, MD, San Diego.

JAMA. 1997;278(14):1200. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550140094050

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


The essence of The Best of Medical Humor was captured for me by the following scenario: upon entering my office I found Michael Hirsch, MD, one of our chief residents, audibly guffawing (can one inaudibly guffaw?) over the second edition of Howard J. Bennett's book. Since numerous double-blind, crossover, randomized, doubletailed, doublespeak studies have shown that only 12.453% (P<.00001) of chief residents (defined by Dr Bennett as those who skip medical articles entirely and read the classified ads) have any sense of humor, and Dr Hirsch does not fall into this minority, I felt vindicated in my professional opinion that this is a wonderfully entertaining book and a seminal reference for medical humor. Dr Bennett's book so inspired Dr Hirsch that he composed the following epic doggerel:

Though the drug reps are boring, and their data are crude, you know you'll keep listening as long as there's food.