Not Falling Behind by Pat Conrad MD


There is just no way this is not funny: the Imperial College (of) London has developed a $13,300 prototype robotic rectum to help train medical students in doing proper rectal exams. “The prosthetic turns out to be much more than the sum of its parts. As a finger probes, robotic arms push back to recreate the, ahem, behavior of an actual rectum, and the bot tracks the finger’s position as well as force to provides constant feedback.”

Have performance anxiety? Too bad: “The whole thing is viewable via a 3D display so student and teacher can appreciate the ins and outs of the procedure together in a way that wasn’t possible before.”

Don’t tell me there aren’t other, equally relevant uses in today’s exciting new medicine. Won’t the hospital administrator want one for the office, to practice the best technique on the next doc he/she is gonna nail? Will the latest urology surgical reps start giving these to offices, with their corporate logo embossed on one cheek? Will insurance companies start trying to withhold payment for prostate ultrasounds if the examiner can’t prove he had stayed digitally current? Will the robot include realistic fluid responses? Could they invent one for the spouse to chew on in lieu of the doc working late, missing another dinner party? I know there are other uses I’m missing…help me out.

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “Not Falling Behind by Pat Conrad MD

  1. mamadoc
    July 20, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    Don’t know why they had to develop a robot. There’s lots of hospital administrators. And insurance executives. And AAFP/ABFM drones.

  2. arf
    July 19, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Use two fingers.

    You want a second opinion.

  3. Steve O'
    July 16, 2016 at 9:23 am

    Look at the myth – anything but touching the patient. Students learn how to treat, not patients but virtual replicas of patients. Dozens upon dozens of people reviewed this idea, and said “what a great idea!” The emperor, in fact, has no clothes.
    Rectal exams should be done upon humans. They are done to answer a question. The PSA goes up, why? The patient’s urinary stream is slow, why? This is probably done to address the issue of why rectal exams are disappearing from the outpatient physical examination. When you have ten minutes free from the computer, sometimes the rectal exam is omitted.
    Thousands and thousands of dollars are spent separating the student from the patient. A night in the ER taking care of a patient with vomiting or melena or abdominal pain, you can do rectal exams that MEAN the risk of getting actual human shit on your button-down shirt. Go figure.

  4. Minderbender
    July 16, 2016 at 7:16 am

    Aren’t there plentiful a$$holes available in the administrative suites in every hospital? Let the students and residents practice on them. Also, PAs, NPs, nurses, dietitians, X-ray techs, cafeteria workers. Let them all have a try.

    • drhockey
      July 16, 2016 at 9:32 am

      And, the administrators are all perfect …

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