November 25th, 2016

ID Cartoon Caption Contest #2 Winner — and a New Contest for the Holidays

Every so often, one of my regular readers (which must number at least a dozen at this point, including my extended family, dog, and cat) asks me where I come up with ideas.

The answer, of course, is that there are infinite sources of inspiration in the field of Infectious Diseases — the difficulty is choosing what fascinating topic will be the target of this week’s cogent and definitive analysis.

Or, I can just steal something, which is what I’ve unabashedly done with the Cartoon Contest, modeled after the more established version from The New Yorker.

And here’s the winner of the summertime contest, an outdoor scene that might bring back fond memories of warm breezes, long days at the beach, and dining al fresco:

"No thanks, I’m watching my carbon footprint."

                                     “No thanks, I’m watching my carbon footprint.”

We’ll give Philip Morganelli the top prize on this one, though he’ll need to share the generous honorarium with John Lee, who introduced the whole “carbon footprint” theme and might have provided Philip some inspiration.

But I confess this contest turned out a bit differently than anticipated. With such an ID-oriented crowd, I figured the obviously very well-done burgers would generate plenty of funny captions about food safety. If you’re wondering what I mean, take a look at this most unappetizing food truck:


Concern about underdone burgers prompted my next door neighbors Ben and Carol to call the well-done hockey pucks favored by ID specialists “Madoff burgers”. It’s in honor of Dr. Lawrence Madoff, an ID doctor who works at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, who periodically attends our neighborhood cookouts — you can guess Larry’s emphatic answer to the question, “And how would you like that done?” Perhaps he will be introducing his own line of crispy fast food soon.

Yet none of the top three captions chosen by our AHA (Advanced Humor Algorithm) had anything remotely to do with infectious food safety:

  1. “No thanks, I’m watching my carbon footprint.” (the now-famous Philip Morganelli)
  2. “Sorry, I was using fire in the belly as a figure of speech.” (JRMD)
  3. No thanks. They always give me heartburn.” (Aaron Kassoff)

Perhaps I poisoned (ha) the ID entries by introducing the drawing with this gloomy sentence: “We must be vigilant to the ever rising threat of both foodborne pathogens and carcinogenic heterocyclic amines.” Come to think of it, that alone could have been a (very unfunny) caption.

This time, you’ll get no such leading leading statement — here’s the cartoon, let your inspiration run wild:


Post captions in the comments section (preferred), or if you’re shy, email them to me at

(Drawing by Anne Sax.)

92 Responses to “ID Cartoon Caption Contest #2 Winner — and a New Contest for the Holidays”

  1. Ashraf Khan, MD says:

    We must turn around now, he must be tired of looking at the backs of our white coats for an hour.

  2. CB says:

    Dr 1 to Dr 2 and 3… “I need a second opinion on this patient. No shortness of breath, no abdominal pain, afebrile everything WNL. What do you think could be the problem?”

    Drs 2 and 3.. “Well, let’s take a look”

    Patient… “ummm, I’m over here”

  3. Namita Anand says:

    How many medics does it take to switch on a computer?

  4. Santa says:

    EHRs: Replacing patient care since the 1960s.

  5. Chandriks says:

    “And now you know how to remove the prostate. I told you YouTube has the best videos!”

  6. AWH says:

    “I think we were taught to treat the patient, not the white count”

  7. Jim Clark says:

    Looks like his Bluetooth is impacted.

  8. PRD says:

    Look, it’s perfectly easy. If you can’t bring yourself to tell him his diagnosis, just tag him in a relevant JAMA article on Facebook and say ‘lol, dis u’.

  9. Sandeep says:

    Doc1 to Doc2 and 3: I said it…he has this pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis
    Doc2: hmmm.
    Patient: i am having what..???

  10. Dezbold says:

    “Finally, an actually *useful* EMR update. Now be quiet, I’m about to get the high score.”

  11. Alex says:

    ‘Dr, why is the suppository on the wall?’

  12. Jennifer says:

    “Have you tried switching him off and back on again”

  13. Hardik Bhatt says:

    Hmmm, lets pretend we are discussing something about him as we know nothing about his condition.

  14. Steve V. says:

    He was ready to go 6 days ago but I can’t find “discharge” on the menu.

  15. Ray Holt says:

    Better call our lawyers, Brianna here is not going to be happy that she is now Brian after Russian hackers changed her appendectomy to a sex reassignment.

  16. Sarah Rowan says:

    Yeah he looks bad. Use the sad face emoji.

    Shoot. Looks like we have to download the newest version of Netscape.

    Check this out right here. I knew those triangles weren’t feet. This new technology makes it so much easier to pull up the images than pull down the covers.

  17. Barry says:

    And if we buy a stronger spell for his avatar, maybe we won’t have to change his antibiotic regimen.

  18. Mark Drapkin says:

    “We’d better check with radiology The patient’s intestine looks OK, but I think the worm has appendicitis.”

  19. AMH says:

    If only this program could tell us how he’s FEELING…

  20. Mary says:

    His facebook profile says he has chronic lymes and a history of Mersah. That can mean only one thing… #IDCONSULT

  21. Lucy H says:

    “We still have no clue why he is sick… we should probably get an ID consult…”

  22. DP says:

    OMG! Jon Snow is alive!

  23. ABA says:

    That’s odd, it says here the rhinoplasty was supposed to be yesterday…

  24. SV says:

    Get it, get it, oh you missed it! I can’t believe we have to work on black friday. We are missing all the good deals!

  25. Claudia Talland says:

    Frozen, again.

  26. Jeff Virant says:

    Who needs to look at the patient now that we all have computers and EHR’s!

  27. Adam G says:

    You see, the key to getting a top box patient communication score is having the patient fill out the survey in front of you.

    – or –

    It can’t be that! He only has 2 of the symptoms listed on the Up To Date article.

  28. John GILBERT says:

    Don’t mind him, he thinks we’re looking at his results. I’d go for the Lexus.

  29. Patricia. Spain says:

    Dr 1: looks like we have a critical virus infection

    Patient: oh my god!!! I hope is the computer…..

  30. ” OMG ,our hospital ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE has been hacked and he did it ”

    Doc 1- ” Yes that’s why he’s admitted. It seems the problem is the cure here”

  31. David Goodman says:

    OMG! Blue screen of death. Patient must have expired.

  32. Gabriel says:

    That’s it! That’s the dance we need to do to kill it at the holiday party. Oh and look, his troponins are up

  33. Ang Ban Hong says:

    We will get ‘back’ to you..

  34. Shah says:

    Let’s post his rash on Facebook for opinion… And… It’s syphilis. Whole world knows he has syphilis….

  35. Frank Yuen says:

    Now let’s see what happens when we hook up the I.V. Line…

  36. Rachel says:

    Ready? Set…mannequin challenge!

  37. Patrick Njoku says:

    Patient: “I wonder if they realize I am here?”

  38. Ansal Shah says:

    See, here is that module about how to improve physician patient relationship. It doesn’t take more than 10 minutes to complete and you get 1 CME too!

  39. Babak says:

    She looks fine!

  40. Philip Morganelli says:

    “You website manner leaves something to be desired…”

HIV Information: Author Paul Sax, M.D.

Paul E. Sax, MD

Contributing Editor

NEJM Journal Watch
Infectious Diseases

Biography | Disclosures | Summaries

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