A Medical Evaluation

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Short Story

Submitted: May 22, 2013

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Submitted: May 22, 2013






When the doctor graduated from medical school after four years of intense study, he still had no idea how he would use what he had learned. Even though his teachers all agreed he was probably the most brilliant student who had ever passed through that great institution, he could not decide where his skills lie. His father, a shoemaker by trade, was of little help. He was simply proud, as was his wife, that their son had reached a plateau few boys aspired to in their village.


Internship was not standard in those days, so after a few weeks of indecision, he hung out a shingle announcing he would treat children. Children were always sick and he would make them well. It was thatsimple. The only thing though, was he forgot he didn’t really like children and it was not long before he became disenchanted with this decision. Children had a way of whining, crying and running all over his beautiful clinic, touching everything and picking their noses. Most were dirty and wore unwashed clothes, a turnoff of his sensitive mores. Six months later, he took down the sign.


An obstetrician, thought the good doctor. There were always babies waiting to be born and mid-wives did not have his knowledge. How hard could that be? Unfortunately, it was not quite as he expected. Delivering babies was messy, smelly and, if anything, at least as unpleasant as dealing with children. Somehow, the fact that babies were also children had eluded him. Another six months and another sign.


This time, he was sure he had found his niche. He asked to become the county coroner and was accepted. At last his skills would be put to good use. Discovering the reason for someone’s demise was exactly what he was most suited for. All those years in school, he had been fascinated by the structure of the human body; its skeletal plan and vital organs. A coroner was at liberty to spend as much time over a corpse as was deemed necessary to arrive at a definite cause for death. An extra day or so to inspect every part of a body would never create suspicion. The doctor was overjoyed.


Regrettably, as far as our coroner was concerned, death did not visit frequently enough in that county. Most people were healthy. Even the bratty children, who picked their noses, seemed to thrive. The doctor was often bored to tears, resorting to reading his medical books over and over. Then an inspiration. He would get his own corpses.


He hired an assistant, a young man not considered too bright among the villagers but who revered him as a man of science and importance. It was not difficult to convince the poor lad to dig up old bodies from the graveyard in the dark of night and bring them clandestinely to his laboratory. The more bodies, the more knowledge and the more the pursuit of the unknown. He even experimented with electric current and its effect on a deceased organ. Our doctor was far ahead of his time; his itch so powerful, however, he once again became the victim of ennui.




One morning, the doctor received the body of a huge farmer who had drowned during a boat outing the day before. Not a mark on this magnificent human, though his face showed the pains of a difficult four decades of toil. The doctor looked at this new treasure solemnly for a long moment, turned to his faithful assistant and asked, not really expecting an answer,


“What do you think would happen, my dear Igor, if I were to implant metal rods into this beautiful creature’s neck and direct charges of high voltage electricity to that area?”


Richard Torpey May 15, 2008



© Copyright 2019 Richard W Torpey. All rights reserved.

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