EXPLAINING The Laws of The House of God

Aug 18, 2012
Posted by Larry Burk | 0 comments

The classical medical parody The House of God by Samuel Shem (AKA psychiatrist Stephen Bergman) has been a must read for medical students and residents since its publication in 1978.  The August 2012 Let Magic Happen newsletter has more details about The House of God and the somewhat darker and not quite as funny sequel, Mount Misery, another parody chronicling Basch’s psychiatric residency. The Laws of The House of God are listed below and explained in the accompanying 9 minute video.

The first 8 of the 13 Laws of The House of God are attributed to the legendary Fat Man, the resident who is the only voice of sanity during Roy Basch’s tumultuous internship. The Laws are introduced in ALL CAPS in sequential order in the book with the last 5 apparently being made up by Basch himself.

The Laws of The House of God

I:      Gomers don’t die.
II:      Gomers go to ground.
III:    At a cardiac arrest, the first procedure is to take your own pulse.
IV:    The patient is the one with the disease.
V:      Placement comes first.
VI:    There is no body cavity that cannot be reached with a #14 needle and a good strong arm.
VII:    Age + BUN = Lasix dose.
VIII:  They can always hurt you more.
X:      If you don’t take a temperature, you can’t find a fever.
IX:    The only good admission is a dead admission.
XI:    Show me a BMS who only triples my work and I will kiss his feet.
XII:    If the radiology resident and the BMS both see a lesion on the chest X ray, there can be no lesion there.
XIII:  The delivery of medical care is to do as much nothing as possible.