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Doctoring is “An Algorithmic Job”–Dr. Doug Farrago of Placebo Journal Giving Reality TV A Shot

Posted Sep 20 2010 2:42pm

This is a nice write up in the New York Times and somehow I got away from his features here and perhaps it was due to the fact that he probably got busy as a doctor and didn’t have enough time to keep up a rigorous schedule of creating these image funny videos we all love.  If you do a search on the Medical Quack, most of them are here in the archives.  One of the funniest antics was the MRSA shirt one could order. 

Placebo Journal Blog: MRSA SHIRT VIDEO

“I went to the hospital and all I got was this lousy shirt, and MRSA”

If the TV show works, it will be nice Dr. Farrago says, but if not, he said he will survive.  This looks to be an interesting show with the doctor traveling around to various doctor offices across the US and doing some helping out and showing what family practice looks like all across the US, and it’s different all over for sure. 

He also has a site where he can be hired as a guest speaker here.

The Placebo Journal Blog is here.  Placebo Television with all those great hilarious videos is here.  The video below is a preview of the up and coming show for television.  I guess we may be seeing more of the good doctor in California soon too and will be watching for the program.  I hope he keeps his theme song or something close as Doc Holiday as the Disrupted Physician theme song.  BD  

For 10 years, Dr. Farrago, a family doctor here, has been the majordomo of said publication: an irreverent, intentionally sophomoric, sometimes scatological medical magazine called Placebo Journal. And though he is not a “House” fan, the product placement was just one example of Dr. Farrago’s enterprising streak.

Doctoring is “an algorithmic job,” said Dr. Farrago, 45. “You can’t just make up things in medicine: ‘Let’s just try Jell-O.’ So I want to do something creative.”

Ten thousand subscribers, he says, pay $28 a year for Placebo Journal, which is published every two months and skewers the health care system’s half-baked mistakes, pokes fun at doctors, patients, insurers and drug companies, or just goes for the gross-out.

“My audiences are physicians,” Dr. Farrago said. “They see all this stuff. They don’t want to do differential diagnosis and read through complex cases. They just want to take this on the toilet bowl and laugh.”

But if Dr. Farrago and two television producers succeed with their latest project, people could be seeing a different side of him. The producers are pitching a reality show in which Dr. Farrago would parachute into communities around the country and help overstretched family doctors care for patients for several days: sort of a medical “Supernanny.”

Fancying itself the Mad Magazine of the medical world, Placebo Journal features “True Stories of Medicine” and odd-looking X-rays submitted by doctors, as well as sections like “My Favorite Munchausen,” about patients who invent or exaggerate medical problems. It loves jabbing Big Pharma and insurers; in 2005 Cigna HealthCare complained to Dr. Farrago’s then-employer, a health system, when he printed a physician survey from the fictitious SickNa HealthCare, its logo like Cigna’s tree, but full of dead leaves.

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