Terra Sigillata

Doug Farrago, MD, is a private practice doc in Maine who has been publishing the print medical satire journal, Placebo Journal, since 2001. Doug does it all, including spoofing drug company adverts, collecting humorous doc stories, and generally poking fun at drug reps, HMOs, and lawyers.

About two years ago, Doug started sending out e-mails of the Placebo Gazette, a rather bloggy and somewhat more serious newsletter of issues facing docs and medicine in general. Imagine my surprise in Placebo Gazette #81 where Dr Farrago threatened to start writing a blog:

The Detroit Free Press did an article on doctors who blog. It is starting to spread, so much that we will be doing it here at the Placebo Journal in the near future. It wasn’t a flattering piece for us physicians as the critics are questioning the ethics of those that do this sort of thing. They bring up patient privacy and liability risks. These are good points. As the editor of the Placebo Journal, I am acutely aware of this issue. Our medical stories, which are all true, come from around the country. The stories are not time sensitive so they can be 1 month old or 50 years old. We print stories about funny things that happen on our job. It may be about patients, about administrators, about doctors, etc. The only rules we have is that it has to be true, be confidential, and there can be no compromise of care. It is my opinion that unless physicians can commiserate about our lives, then we are relegated to the slow burn that is spreading across our profession. By understanding that others walk in our shoes and have similar experiences, we can feel a little better about ourselves. It is highly therapeutic. It is also good to laugh. It is funny when a rude doctor’s toupee gets blown across from a disconnected ventilator tube. It is funny when a medical student flips off her glove (fresh from a rectal exam) and turns around to see some splatter across her chief resident’s face. It is funny to see a potato used as a contraceptive device. It is hilarious to make fun of HMOs, pharmaceutical companies and lawyers. I need this and per the popularity of my magazine, so do other docs, nurses and even patients!

Well, Doug has made good on his promise – witness the Placebo Journal Blog!

Welcome, Dr Farrago to the blogosphere! I hope you continue to bring the badly-needed levity to the lives of docs and health care professionals that you have done with the print journal over the last six years. Best wishes on the new blog and, as you are wont to say, “keep smiling, keep laughing and keep out of the sample closet!”