Medicine’s lighter side

LONDON, United Kingdom — The funny stories doctors tell on themselves are real.

A choice selection of acknowledged “Doctor fails” are recounted in this year’s BMJ Christmas issue. By longstanding tradition, the holiday edition of the medical journal is given over to studies and essays that probe medicine’s lighter side.They’re drawn from the growing number of blogs and social media forums frequented by doctors, and were curated by a high-powered team led by UC San Francisco dermatologist Dr. Eleni Linos.

In many cases, physicians chalked up their own awkward and embarrassing incidents to fatigue or long work hours. And the authors of the report dutifully observe that “doctor fatigue is no laughing matter” — it leads to dangerous medical errors and doctor burnout, they wrote.

But when it causes a doctor to ask a blind man whether he’s ever sleepy while driving, or to respond to a drive-through greeting with, “I was paged” — well, you just have to laugh.