David Bruce: Doctors Anecdotes

In 1977, the Romanian women’s gymnastics team was in West Germany for a series of exhibitions. However, Romanian coach Bela Karolyi was very dissatisfied with the team’s accommodations. Believe it or not, because of a mixup, the team was told to sleep in the freezing-cold changing room of the exhibition hall where they would soon display their skills! Mr. Karolyi even tried to get better accommodations by telling the exhibition hall manager that his young gymnast Nadia Comaneci was feverish. However, instead of giving them better and warmer accommodations, the manager sent for a physician. When the physician arrived, Mr. Karolyi did not want him to examine Nadia and discover that she was not feverish, so she ran away from the physician. He tried to chase her around the exhibition hall, but she kept eluding him, so he eventually gave up, saying, “If she can run like that, there can’t be that much wrong with her, and if I can’t examine her, what the hell can I do?”

Dr. Martin Palmer grew up gay when being homosexual was thought to be a mental illness. He and his gay friends read the books that said they were abnormal, and they thought the books were ridiculous. However, as so many other gay men at the time did, he went to a psychoanalyst in an attempt to find out what had caused his homosexuality. Dr. Palmer says, “I remember going and constantly arguing with the doctor about being gay. He said I was resisting changing and refusing to be mature and responsible, and all kinds of things. We fought hard, but I won.”

Landon Ronald was a conductor in England who occasionally worked with Thomas Beecham; however, eventually Mr. Ronald seemed to disappear from the music scene. Mr. Beecham shared the same doctor as Mr. Ronald, so he took occasion to ask the doctor if anything serious had happened to him. The doctor replied, “Not at all; it is only a case of wine, women, and song, and I have told him that he must make up his mind to drop one of them.” The next time Mr. Beecham saw Mr. Ronald, he asked him which of the three he had decided to drop. Ronald replied, “Song.”

Doctor Bodie was a quack who “treated” people in Great Britain long ago. He had much electric equipment on stage, and he both manipulated people and used the electric equipment on them. Although legitimate physicians insisted that he was a quack, no action was ever taken against him because of his popularity — until a patient died on stage during the “treatment.” Doctor Bodie then quietly took his money and moved to America, where he vanished from the public eye.

Abba the surgeon was beloved by the residents of Heaven even while he lived on Earth. He had two consulting rooms — one for men, and one for women. When he examined a woman, she first put on a garment with many slits so that he did not look at her naked body. Outside of the consulting rooms was a box where patients could put their fees. Patients with money put their fees in the box; patients without money could leave quietly and not be embarrassed.

Three doctors died and went to the Pearly Gates, where St. Peter asked each doctor what they had done on earth. The first doctor had worked with the Christian Medical and Dental Society, and St. Peter welcomed him to Heaven. The second doctor said that she had been a missionary for 11 years, and St. Peter welcomed her to Heaven. The third doctor said that he had worked for an HMO, and St. Peter said, “Come on in — but you can stay only three days.”

Mary Bacon, who worked as a female jockey in the 1970s, always requested female doctors (unless she was unconscious as a result of an injury). She explained, “As far as I’m concerned, men doctors are still men and they still read Playboy and all that. And I’m not going to have some man doctor come out to the racetrack and say, ‘Hey, see that jockey over there? I had her on the table the other day, playing around with her.’”

Joe Garagiola once made a speech during which the program chairman slumped over as if he were the victim of a heart attack. Mr. Garagiola started asking for a doctor over the microphone, but because he is a humorous speaker, the audience started to laugh. Finally, he turned to main speaker Harry Truman and said, “You ask for a doctor — they don’t believe me.” This worked, and the chairman’s life was saved.

A reporter once asked astronaut John Glenn about his training, and what was the toughest part of it. Mr. Glenn replied, “That’s a tough one, and it’s hard to choose one in particular, but if you think of how many openings there are on the human body, and … how far you can go in any one of them, you tell me which was the hardest test.”

Margot Fonteyn once was surprised to find out that a man she had thought was half-Oriental was actually 100% Panamanian. It turned out that as a boy he had lived in Japan. His face was injured in an earthquake, and the Japanese doctors performing plastic surgery on him had given him an Oriental appearance.

While playing in the poor play Alice’s Boys, Sir Ralph Richardson once went to the front of the stage and asked, “Is there a doctor in the house?” After a man stood up and identified himself as a doctor, Sir Ralph asked him, “Doctor, isn’t this a terrible play?”

As a young man, Charles Darwin studied medicine, thinking he would become a physician. However, as part of his training, he witnessed an operation performed on a child — in the days before anesthesia was invented — and he rushed out of the operating room and never returned.

The German Chancellor, Konrad Adenauer, while in his eighties went to see a doctor, who told him, “I’m not a miracle worker, you know. I can’t make you any younger.” Mr. Adenauer replied, “I’m not asking you to, as long as you succeed in making me older.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved