Medical Fun Facts Podcast

MFF0024: Christmas 2016 edition

Every year, medical journals like the Medical Journal of Australia and the British Medical Journal publish an end of year Christmas special.

This year the MJA had an article which highlighted medical collective nouns.

You can find it at this link

You need to be a subscriber to read it and because of copyright, I dare not read the article for you. Suffice to say it included one of my favourites, viz., a colony of microbiologists.

I had the opportunity to request the publication of a response, sort of like an old-fashioned letter to the editor. It got published. The second time I’ve been published in the MJA this year! The first time was at the end of November on a work-related matter.

My response was:

Now I’m not sure if I have non-Australian listeners. A slab is a colloquial term for a carton of beer. In the Top End where I spent the best of my years, there were three colours of beer label representing different brands. They were red, green and gold. Rather than slabs, they were known as suitcases because beer thirsty men and women would present to bottle shops and buy beer by the carton. Not being a drinker I may not be correct, but I understand a typical slab or suitcase contains 24 × 375 mL aluminium cans of beer. A red suitcase was for Melbourne Bitter, a green suitcase was for Victoria Bitter, and a gold suitcase was for Queensland’s iconic drink, XXXX Gold! [Please note I am not an advocate for excessive alcohol intake. It is bad for your health.]

I hope a sac of urologists is self-explanatory but for the naïve, the scrotum looks like a pretty cool sac. My maternal uncle was a urologist and his consulting rooms were a shrine to phallic symbols and art. He had dicks big and small all over the place.

A loop of bacteriologists refers to a bacteriological loop which is usually made of nichrome wire or plastic and is used to touch colonies of bacteria for various purposes like making a wet preparation or a Gram’s stain or to prepare an inoculum for further testing.

A roll tube is what used to be used by virologists for cell cultures to grow viruses. You can put the tube on the stage of a microscope and look for a cytopathic effect. These days, virologists are the masters of molecular biology and have no use for roll tubes.

Finally, a tube of chemical pathologists. The vast majority of tests performed by chemical pathologists are done on serum or plasma and the blood is collected in a tube.

I had a couple of extra thoughts. You know how you can have a murder of crows, why not a murder of prison doctors. This may seem a little conceited but if you have a parliament of owls, why not a parliament of government medical advisers (like me!).

Given this is a Christmas edition, I wanted to add a second element to the Christmas Day show.

So, what’s in a name?

Over the years, many people have tried to augment or play on my name for fun.

As a kid, I copped Lummy Bummy, Gary Bum, Larry Gum, Gary Glum and more recently, a senior colleague has started calling me Lumster. My youngest brother got Yummy Lummy because he was pretty. You may think that’s where I got the name for my food blog, but no, a friend at work suggested Yummy Lummy as a name for the blog.

Of course, people like to add an extra r to Gary and a b to Lum. But the best fun is choosing names for children.

As you can expect, none of my children has these names. I’m not that cruel.

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