Medical Humor: A Joke or a Poke?
When I was pregnant with my first child ( I am married too BTW) I said to my PCP that I was a bit nervous about giving birth. To which he replied" you should have thought of that before you opened your legs"
The above example of doctor to patient “humor” was written recently by a visitor to my thread “I Hate Doctors: Chapter 2”
I wrote there I have actually several threads covering "humor" in medicine but none specifically on what the professional considers ‘benign humor’ as expressed to the patient or others but actually is deprecatory and belittling of the patient as a person and a fellow human being. .. I put the word "humor" in so-called scare quotes to emphasize my view that, unfortunately, humor may not really be humorous to the patient or others.
An article in MedScape from the Student British Medical Journal discusses the examples of un-humanistic joking with patients titled “Just Having a Laugh”. Patient beneficent views state that humor “creates a psychological barrier that prevents the carer from getting too attached to the patient, and another reason might be that it forges a bond between those privy to the joke" or that "humour reinforces a sense of togetherness” or “is a protective mechanism against the horror and suffering before them.” Yet a patient maleficent view would hold that this humor is “an outlet for feelings of anger, frustration, or disgust towards certain patients (such as obese patients or those with conditions that are perceived to be self inflicted.)”
I think that humor in medicine is constructive or destructive depending on how it is applied. Should a patient already in distress and seemingly lacking the extent of power given to the physician be subjected to personal humiliation? On the other hand, could carefully applied and empathetic humor be binding to a relationship, constructive and therapeutic? This thread is for my visitors to give examples, in their own experience, of good jokes received and what they feel were bad, deprecatory jokes. But please no identifying names of the jokers, good or bad. ..Maurice.
Graphic: From eslpod.com