There’s something funny happening on Twitter, and doctors are a big part of it. One-liner jokes about medicine have shown up in abundance, with doctors around the globe participating.
The jokes are mostly in the format of “I have a joke about [medical specialty]…” followed by word play relating to the field. Take Dr Cassra Arbabi, a vascular surgery fellow at Cedars Sinai who tweeted, “I have a great OB/GYN joke, but it’s hard to deliver.”
Or, “I have a vascular joke, it’s bloody hilarious,” from Dr Naseer Ahmad, a vascular surgeon in the UK.
Considering what’s going on in the world — with the pandemic, political unrest, and climate change — doctors may need a moment for a bit of levity. In fact, leading humor researcher Rod Martin, PhD, professor emeritus of clinical science and psychology at the University of Western Ontario in Canada, says his research gives “support to the idea that people who have more of a sense of humor are better able to cope with stress and therefore are less adversely affected by it.”
That would explain this timely joke:
“I have a joke about hydroxychloroquine but it doesn’t work.”
I have a joke about hydroxycholoroquine but it doesn't work. https://t.co/smwzjjfH53
— Madeline Belk, PharmD (@MadelineBelk) July 26, 2020
Because of the nature of Twitter, the jokesters were not all physicians and topics weren’t limited to only medicine. Still, there was plenty of medical material. Examples include:
“I have an ICU joke but I refuse to admit it.”
I have an ICU joke but I refuse to admit it. https://t.co/7UOdy1y4JW
— Dr Rosie Baruah (@rosieICM) July 24, 2020
“I have a radiology joke but it’s too dark.”
I have a radiology joke but it’s too dark. https://t.co/xp758R1uUC
— Tom Folan, MD (@tomfolanmd) July 24, 2020
“Have a joke for vascular to rescue, but they decided to cut it off instead.”
Have a joke for vascular to rescue, but they decided to cut it off instead.
— Chris Jones (@CJJonesMD) July 27, 2020
“Someone else had a joke about amputation, but after a second opinion, bypassed it.”
Someone else had a joke about amputation but after a second opinion bypassed it. ????
— Sara M. Edeiken, MD (@BloodyPlumber) July 27, 2020
“I have a urology joke but it’s bathroom humor”
I have a urology joke but it’s bathroom humor
— ????Josh #WearAMask Rubin, MD ???? (@DrSandman11) July 25, 2020
I have a urinary obstruction joke, but it doesn’t flow.”
I have a urinary obstruction joke, but it doesn’t flow.
— Jennie Lin, MD MTR (@jenniejlin) July 26, 2020
Or how about this one with word play?
“I tried to tell a joke about a trauma patient with multiple rib fractures. But it was a giant flail.”
— Elliott R Haut, MD, PhD (@elliotthaut) July 26, 2020
One sly person tweeted:
“I had a secret urology joke, but before I could tell it, it leaked.”
I had a secret Urology joke, but before I could tell it, it leaked.
— Kathleen Kieran (@KieranKathleen) July 25, 2020
Scientists got in on the fun, too.
“I have a western blot joke, but even if I repeat it three or four times, it won’t make sense.”
I have a western blot joke, but even if I repeat it three or four times, it won’t make sense. https://t.co/8m1vYK1GdL
— Andrew Plested (@AndrewPlested) July 24, 2020
And should we worry about this one?
“I have a fungal infection joke, it will grow on you.”
I have a fungal infection joke, it will grow on you https://t.co/px0HuFsrBX
— Ilan Schwartz MD PhD (@GermHunterMD) July 24, 2020
Some were more serious, mixing medicine with social issues:
“I have a health equity joke but only certain people would get it.”
I have a health equity joke but only certain people would get it. https://t.co/UllWkKb0MY
— Kimberly D. Manning, MD (@gradydoctor) July 24, 2020
“I have a joke about professionalism but it disproportionately affects women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ population.”
I have a joke about professionalism but it disproportionately affects women, people of color, and the LGBTQ+ population
— Matt Luo, MD (@Mattcrophage) July 28, 2020
Doctors also had fun on Twitter earlier this month talking about what things different specialists hate. The discussion can be joined here.
Pippa Wysong is a freelance medical and science writer with over 30 years of experience writing for both medical and popular audiences. She is a former staffer at The Medical Post, and has written numerous projects for Medscape.