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Medical Student Ploys

You're in the OR (or anywhere for that matter) when the attending asks a brilliant question that you're sure you should know the answer to, but don't. What can you do?

These ploys have been collected by physicians (and medical students) in the Cincinnati and Nashville areas for some time. I have taken the time to make them available to everyone, but I do not claim credit for creating them. I would like this list to grow with your contributions.

I previously had these posted for several years on the internet in the mid '90s, and I have now returned them after many years and many requests.

The Ploys
  1. "Would you please repeat the question?
  2. Ignore the Doctor and act like you didn't hear the question.
  3. Repeat the question aloud to buy time.
  4. Ask for clarification of the question.
  5. Say "I don't know."
  6. Say "I'm not sure what you're after." (You know so much you need more specifcity.)
  7. Be bold (i.e. stupid) and say "I don't think that's relevant."
  8. We didn't cover that in class.
  9. I haven't had that rotation.
  10. That rotation was bad.
  11. The doctor was on vacation when I was on that rotation.
  12. The nurses were on strike when I was on that rotation.
  13. The doctor on that rotation was bad.
  14. That's anelective and I'm not going to take that rotation.
  15. I was sick that day (month, or year).
  16. I didn't get good notes from the note pool.
  17. The day for that lecture they closed (choose one) __school, __hospital, clinic for (choose one) __rain, snow, __heat, __broken pipes.
  18. Our body (cadaver) was missing that part.
  19. The family recalled our body.
  20. Start a conversation on an unrelated topic.
  21. Feign illness.
  22. Be ill (gets sympathy).
  23. Get "Hypoglycemic" and pass out (gets attention, but no sympathy).
  24. Say "I'm sorry, my wife is about to deliver and my head is elsewhere."
  25. Say "I have to meet Dr. X for rounds."
  26. Be Mr. or Ms. Impeccably Nice (Pac-Person of the outhouse.)
  27. Be Mr. or Ms. Impeccably Ignorant -- and nobody will bother with you.
  28. Contaminate yourself so you have to leave the operating room.
  29. Talk constantly so you are dismissed from the room.
  30. Get lost so you "couldn't find the room."
  31. Don't bathe so you are not allowed in the room.
  32. Injure the Doctor so he/she can't come into the room.
  33. Threaten to quit medical school (gets attention and sympathy.)
  34. Say "I'm sorry, I've been studying for my Boards."
  35. Have a Tumor or Mortality Board Meeting to attend.
  36. Say "I can't scrub, I didn't do the work-up."
  37. Keep asking the Doctor questions.
  38. Memorize some obtuse fact and ask the doctor that question.
  39. Ask the doctor about his favorite sport or car.
  40. Talk vacation with the doctor.
  41. Excuse yourself to answer a page.
  42. Excuse yourself to answer a long distance call.
  43. Excuse yourself to go to the CPR call.
  44. Excuse yourself to go to a Post-Mortem Exam.
  45. Excuse yourself to go to the clinic.
  46. Feign hearing deficit.
  47. If the doctor has an acccnt , feign difficulty understanding him/her.
  48. Injure yourself so you have to leave.
  49. Announce you have C C, Syphillis, Mononucleosis, Hepititis, AIDS.
  50. Threaten the Doctor.
  51. Act all arrogant and say, "isn't that something the nurses do?"
  52. Say "If you have to ask me to get the awnser to that question, you shouldn't be a doctor!"

To add your own Medical Student Ploys, 

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Last modified on June 16, 2007

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