Gallows Humor


Thesisstatement:Although a section of medical professionals joke about some of theirpatients medical or social problems, it is important to note thatmost of their jokes are timeswrong.

Gallowshumor refers to a sense of absurdity that is not only unpleasant butalso fosters pain. Gallows humor primarilymakes fun of dangerouselements such as death, crime, and diseases among patients. It is asatirical fashion that projects a clear sense of witticism due to itshopeless response to serious medical situations. Gallows humor isdueto trauma and stressful or life threatening situations such as death.According to somepsychological researchers,gallowshumor causes an increased sense of sociological effects on both theoppressor and the oppressed. That is, while it gallows humor buildsthe social stability and strengthens the emotional morale of theoppressed, it interferes with and undermines the moralstandings of the oppressor.

WylieSypher argues that by laughing at an evil or an unfortunate situationthat has affected somedifferent patients, the actions of the medical practitioners who pertake in Gallows humor aremore ofsurmounted. Because of this, it is evident that Gallows humor is anatural instinct that mainly occurs in human beings. It is usuallypresent in antiquity stories. The fundamentalpurpose of this paper,therefore,is to provide readers with a clear and detailed analysis of theconcept of gallows humor within the society,especially in medical practice. In achieving this, the essay willsummarize and respond to the article, “Gallows humor in medicine”by Katie Watson. By doing this, it would be able to highlight andexplain the general role of humor and its impact on the social andemotional lives of medical professionals. Throughout all this, it isevident that by discussing the concept of gallowshumor using Katie Watson’s article, the paper succeeds in providingreaders with an independent and objective overview of Gallow’swit.

Inher article “Gallows humor in medicine,” Katie Watson,a medical researcher in the United States,provides a detailed exploration of the ethical validity of gallowshumor also known as black humor within the medical practice.According to the article, although jokes enable patients to accesspossible or the best medical care through their constant interactionswith medics, gallows humor does not provide them with a feel-goodsensation. Byusing the interpersonal relationship developed between doctors andpatients,humor isahealthyantidote used within the medical practice acts a stress managementtool by patients and health professionals.

Ithelps toidentify and moderate a patient`s response to pain positively.By exposing patients to humor in a medical institution, their generallevel of recovery improves since the aspect of funhas prompted them to become active participants. Further, accordingto Watson’s article,there isproofthat the elementof humor in medicine helps tobridge the gap between patients and medical practitioner effectively.It narrows on the interpersonal communication gap existing betweenmedics and patients by fostering a caring act for the medicalinstitution. By this, humor plays a fundamental role in enhancing thegeneral well-beingof patients by reducing elements of anxiety which regularlyassociateswith vast medical care. Given this, it is open that humor helps toimprovethe patient’s social, emotional and physical stability. Theissue ismainly by providing patients with adequate room to express theirfrustrations. It also gives them the opportunity to develop a clearunderstanding and perception of the institution`stype and level and medical care. It has the tendency of distractingtheir attention and offering them temporary relieve towards theirpain.

Bymaking fun of a patient`strauma or life-threateningsituation, it is evident that gallows humor seeks to enhance themoral distress and between medical personnel and patients. Itdisintegrates patients, thereby increasing their emotional pain andinstability. By this, it is evidentthat the occurrence of gallows humor within medical institutions isunethical. It interferes with the mutual relationship and sense ofrespect fordoctors and patients. The wit does not offer patients with afeel-goodatmosphere which supports their emotional breakdown. It limits thevast interaction that ensues within health care institutions. Theincorporation of gallows humor in the working system of a medicalfacilitycreates a series of doubt and increased grief in patients faced withtrauma and death related issues. Gallows humor has largely limitedthe art of privacy to be maintained. By making fun of the seriousconditions such as death faced by patients, it can bearguedthat medical practitioners develop limited skills in sustaining themedical privacy of their patients, thereby negatively affecting thegeneral trust typicallyestablished between doctors and patients. It further creates a senseof moral distress and power imbalance between these two parties.

Althoughhilarity offers the best social and emotional support to medicalpatients, I openly agree with Katie Watson’s notion that thegallows humor in medicine is unethical. The joke interferes with thegoodand professional viability ofmedical institutions. It corrupts and creates an unstable workingenvironment due to its ability to cause more grief and emotionaltorture on the affected parties, thus fostering the deterioration ofa patient’s medical condition. It encouragesreducedproduction of healthcare products and services, thus limiting theaccessibility and availability of medical services used to provide anadequateresponse to various social demands.

Regardlessof the negative impact of gallows humor in medicine, I still holdthat jokes play a very crucial role in improving the mood and qualityof life of patients within a health care setting. It helps inensuring adequate assessment of patients by appreciating them throughinterpersonal appreciation. By this, the humor or the use of jokes inmedicine offers effectivenursing intervention to patients. It provides individuals with anopportunity to cope with their trauma and grieve over the loss oftheir loved ones. The use of humor in a medical setting helps inmaking medical practitioners mindful of the general medical needs anddemands of their patients.

Inconclusion, the paper provides a clear and detailed overview of therole and impact of gallows humor in the lives of medicalpractitioners. Using the article “Gallows humor in medicine” byKatie Watson, the paper identifies and highlights the advantages anddisadvantages of using humor in the management of patients in healthcare institutions. Responding to the article by Watson, the paper hasdemonstrates that although gallows humor fosters an ethical practicein hospitals, the use of jokes helps in the creation of a stable andbalanced atmosphere for both patients and medics to operate.


Watson,Katie. in Medicine:Hasting Center Report. Volume 41, Issue 5. 2011. Print.