Review: “Sawbones,” Podcasting, and the History of Medicine

“Sawbones is a show about medical history and nothing the hosts say should be taken as medical advice or opinion. It’s for fun. Can’t you just have fun for an hour and not try to diagnose your mystery boil? We think you’ve earned it. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy a moment of distraction from…that…weird…

The Uncertainty of Medicine and Improv Comedy

  James Belarde “Medicine is a science of uncertainty and an art of probability.” -William Osler The Big Sick, a 2017 romantic comedy written by husband-and-wife team Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon, tells the true story of a mysterious illness that strikes Emily early in their relationship. The doctors initially overwhelm her family with medical…

Twin Studies

Back in September, I found myself in a small community just outside of Ithaca, NY, in the company of several colleagues from Cornell. We were there to participate in community’s annual “Fun Run.” I use the term “fun” here with some reservations, defining it provisionally and according to terminology that was current when I ran…

Robin Williams and the Ability to Console with Humor

James Belarde “Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma.” -Robin Williams I vividly remember August 11, 2014 for two reasons. For one, it was the day my medical class at Columbia University observed its White Coat Ceremony, officially marking our matriculation. But it was also the day comedian Robin Williams committed…