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Ask Dr. Joe!

Question for the Good Doctor:

Doctor Joe,
I'm a doctor -- by training a surgeon. However, I'm pretty bad at it. Because I'm such a lousy surgeon, I often deal with the bereaved relatives, the crying spouse, the bitter brother, the malevolent mother. All in all, more than I was trained to handle.
So what are some good ways to handle the surviving relatives of the dead?

Dr. Joe's Wise Reply:

For me this is also a large issue -- I deal with dead patients on a nearly daily basis!

Here's how I handle a dead or dying patient. During surgery -- say, open-heart surgery -- that you know in your gut just isn't going so well, before you sew up the chest cavity, place a playing card in there. Later, after they're dead, after you bring the bereaved family in, distract them by doing a simple card trick. They'll appreciate how you're trying to help them forget dear dead Ma -- but they'll be extra-surprised when you break out the surgical saw, cut Ma's sternum in two, pull out the ace of spades and yell, "Is this your card?"

Put his medical degree to use for you! Send your medical question to Dr. Joe!


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