Last Laughs: Gallows Humor and Medical Education

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This paper argues that “backstage” gallows humor among clinical mentors not only affects medical students’ perceptions of what it means to be a doctor but is also symptomatic and indicative of a much larger problem in medicine—namely, the failure to attend fully to the complexity and profundity of the lived experiences of illness, suffering, and death. Reorienting the discourse surrounding gallows humor away from whether or in what context it is acceptable and toward the reasons why doctors feel the need to use such humor in the first place addresses this issue in a more illuminating way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-390
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Medical Humanities
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


Dive into the research topics of 'Last Laughs: Gallows Humor and Medical Education'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this