Letter to the Editor
Thanks so much for Dr. Robert Brandt's article advocating the use of humor in the ED with kids and, in my view, with anyone else who is stressed about being there. (“Pediatric Patient? Check Your Maturity at the Door,” EMN 2018;40:16; http://bit.ly/2S05VVt.)
Our emergency medicine residency director did his training at our hospital in general surgery and then went to Vietnam for several years to work in MASH units. Nurses who knew him say he came back a changed man. We can only imagine.
That said, we didn't see eye-to-eye on using humor in the ED. His only comment on several of my evaluations was, “Stop making people laugh. You're here to treat them, not entertain them!”
I'd agree, but putting them at ease, making the human bond, making them forget their misery is all part of treating the patient. That's what they paid for.
My favorite moment came when one patient asked me, “Where the heck did you go to medical school?” I replied, “Why, the Hawkeye Pierce School of Medicine, of course. I've seen every episode of MASH three times!”
Paul Mele, MD