Could You Pretend to be a Doctor – and Get Away With It?

Dr Vernon Coleman

Fake doctors are commoner than you might imagine.

In America, a hoax psychiatrist persuaded 10 married women to have sex with total strangers.

He telephoned a hundred women at random and claimed to be a psychiatrist secretly treating their husbands for sexual problems. He told them that they should leave the house and come back with the first man they could find and await further instructions. In a second call he told the women — and the strangers they’d brought home — to have sex. He claimed it would help cure the husband’s problem.

Ninety women who’d been telephoned refused to follow the hoaxer’s instructions. But 10 did as they were told.

In Italy, a hospital found that one of its top brain surgeons wasn’t even qualified as a doctor.

In England a meat salesman performed 14 operations in just 24 days while a biology teacher posed as a gynaecologist for 6 months before getting caught.

How long do you think you’d last as a physician or surgeon? How convincing would you be as a doctor? Try this quiz for fun:

There is one correct answer to each of the following questions... choose the one you think is right and then check your score.

1. What would you prescribe kaolin for?
a) a headache
b) a tummy upset
c) an ear infection

2. One of these drugs is an antibiotic — but which?
a) thiamine
b) tetracycline
c) theophylline

3. What would you use to listen to a patient’s chest?
a) sphygmomanometer
b) ophthalmoscope
c) stethoscope

4. Which of these hospital specialists deals with skin problems?
a) gynaecologist
b) dermatologist
c) radiologist

5. How many moles are there on the average human body?
a) 20
b) 2
c) 200

6. What is the correct spelling?
a) diarhoea
b) diarrhoea
c) diarrohea

7. Which of these drugs would you prescribe for someone in pain?
a) morphine
b) penicillin
c) caffeine

8. The tubes which connect your kidneys to your bladder are called
a) catheters
b) urethras
c) ureters

9. If you look at a bright light your pupils will
a) atrophy
b) constrict
c) dilate

10. Where is the thickest skin on your body?
a) on your eyelids
b) on the soles of your feet
c) on your bottom

11. What is the name of the substance that changes the colour of your skin when you get a suntan?
a) lymph
b) noradrenalin
c) melanin

12. The average human heart is roughly the size of:
a) a table tennis ball
b) a tennis ball
c) a football

13. What is the name of the gland that produces the hormone insulin?
a) the duodenum
b) the pituitary
c) the pancreas

14. How much blood does your body contain?
a) 10 pints
b) 20 pints
c) 30 pints

The correct answers are:

1 b, 2 b, 3 c, 4 b, 5 a, 6 b, 7 a, 8 c, 9 b, 10 b, 11 c, 12 b, 13 c, 14 a.

* If you got 12 or more right — order your brass plate now!
* If you got 8 to 11 right — dodgy, you wouldn’t last a week
* If you got 7 or less right — no chance, with a little practice maybe you could masquerade as a bedpan washer

Copyright Vernon Coleman July 2021

If you enjoy medical stories you will enjoy Practice Makes Perfect by Edward Vernon. The book is available on Amazon as a paperback and an eBook.