Patient Abuse


Patient Abuse

Patient Abuse is a sketch from the final episode of "Monty Python's Flying Circus". The sketch is notable for being one of the few not written by a Monty Python member, and for its considerable amount of black humour. It was written by future "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" creator Douglas Adams, who was a friend of Python Graham Chapman. Using mind-boggling bureaucracy for comic effect is one of the recurring themes of Adams' work.

Outline

The sketch is set in a doctor's office. A man (Terry Jones) rushes in, blood gushing from his gut. The doctor (Graham Chapman), barely reacting to the blood, blandly asks what the problem is, to which the man responds, staggeringly, that the wound was caused by the nurse stabbing him in the chest. The doctor tells the man that he has to fill out paperwork before he can do anything. With his blood still spilling to the floor, the man attempts to fill out the paperwork, while the doctor decries the difficulties of paperwork and bureaucracy. Straining to the floor, the man hands the doctor his blood-soaked paperwork, which the doctor proceeds to criticise ("Surely you know number four! It's from the Merchant of Venice, even I knew that!"). The sketch ends with the nurse (Carol Cleveland) coming in with a bloody sabre, implying that she has just stabbed the last waiting patient. The doctor and the nurse decide to "pop […] out for a bit of lunch", leaving the dying patient with a second form and the promise of some morphine if he gets at least the questions about history right.


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