Funtabulously Frivolous Friday Five 042

As each new labelled generation of students arises, the fallen generation vocalise their lament on the decay of learning, the demise of articulate presentation and the death of inquisitive thought…

Bring back pimping…they exclaim

Medical Pimping

Question 1

  • What is medical pimping?

“On the surface, the aim of pimping appears to be Socratic instruction. The deeper motivation, however, is political. Proper pimping inculcates the intern with a profound and abiding respect for his attending physician while ridding the intern of needless self-esteem. Furthermore, after being pimped, he is drained of the desire to ask new questions…” from Brancati FL. The Art of Pimping. JAMA 262(1989):890.

Question 2

  • Who is generally credited with the invention of medical pimping?

  • William Harvey
  • William Harvey is believed to have started pimping students as early as 1628. He wrote lamenting his students’ lack of enthusiasm [Reference]

“They know nothing of Natural Philosophy, these pin-heads. Drunkards, sloths, their bellies filled with Mead and Ale. O that I might see them pimped!”

Question 3

  • What evidence is there that Sir William Osler was a pimp?

  • Eye witness testimony:

“Rounded with Osler today. Riddles house officers with questions. Like a Gatling gun. Welch says students call it ‘pimping.’ Delightful.”- Abraham Flexner”

  • Photographic evidence:

Osler as a Pimp

Osler as a Pimp


Question 4

  • Describe the ‘muffin‘ technique in the defence against malignant medical pimping.

  • The ‘muffin‘ is a technique that relies on a basic human aversion to seeing other people speak with their mouths full.
  • The position of the hand-held muffin should correlate with the product of the likelihood of being targeted by the pimper multiplied by the likelihood of the muffin-holder not knowing the answer.
  • If a question is about to be directed at the pimpee, and the pimpee does not know the answer, the muffin should be rapidly inserted into the pimpee’s mouth. [Reference]
  • Detsky, clearly a physician of great wisdom, advises the pimpee to “feign choking should the pimper be sufficiently inhuman (usually a surgeon) to still direct a question at a person with a muffin-filled mouth.” If you then resuscitate yourself with a back slap — or even better, a precordial thump — bystanders will applaud you and you will never be pimped again.  [Reference]

Question 5

  • What is the ‘Get Out of Jail‘ Card?

…and remember kids…pimping can be fun




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