[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
June 13, 1980


JAMA. 1980;243(22):2333. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300480053031

The Dean was a gentle, bearded man, a pipe-smoking neurologist. He loved to sail in the San Juan islands. He was a far-seeing person and was not given to anger. The failures, large and small, of his medical students were duly noted, but the Dean always saw past these failures to the future successes of his embryo physicians. The only times I ever saw the Dean angry was when he heard someone using the term "gomer."

Many say that this term is an acronym for "Get out of my emergency room!" a phrase frequently yelled at gomers by emergency room physicians. The gomers themselves were down-and-outers. They were the alcoholics, the addicts, and the senile, raging geriatrics. The term was ubiquitous among the students and house staff at the hospitals in our university system. Underground pamphlets circulated that described the classification of gomers, competitions of legendary gomers, and even gomer