Christmas at the Clinic

The following is an article from Uncle John's OLD FAITHFUL 30th Anniversary edition.

A few years ago we found some legitimate medical journals that took a break from their serious work and diagnosed the “ailments” of cartoon characters. Turns out they’ve “analyzed” some of our favorite Christmas characters, too.

(Image credit: Jonathan G Meath)

Patient: “Mr. S. Claus”

Medical Issues: Unknown— it’s unclear whether Santa has ever undergone a physical exam, let alone had one in recent years. For this reason, Dr. Y. Ingrid Goh of Toronto, Ontario, referred the patient to one Dr. Yull Tyde and asked that he be checked for signs of respiratory problems and thermal burns (from sliding up and down sooty, smoky chimneys, some of which are probably hot); frostbite and hypothermia (from traveling in an open vehicle in the middle of night in winter); indigestion, heartburn, obesity, and hyperglycemia (Santa binges on milk and cookies at every stop); and obsessive-compulsive disorder (he makes lists and checks them twice).

Physician’s Notes: “It is highly recommended that Mr. Claus consider an alternative mode of transportation and adopt a healthier lifestyle… Please ask him to consider an alternative route of entrance… In addition, please ensure that his herd of reindeer has been vaccinated against rabies virus.” (Canadian Medical Association Journal, December 2004)

Patient: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Medical Issue: His nose is red.

Physicians’ Notes: The article’s authors, who hail from the Netherlands and Norway— or, as they put it, “near the North Pole”— were not able to examine Rudolph, so they took another route. They studied the nasal anatomy of two ordinary reindeer and then compared it to the nasal anatomy of five human volunteers. They found that the reindeers’ noses had a 25 percent denser network of microvessels, or tiny blood vessels, than the human noses did, increasing the volume of red blood cells flowing through their noses. Why? Possibly to keep it warm in the winter cold. “We hypothesized that the infamous red nose of the most well-known of Santa Claus’s reindeers, Rudolph, would originate from a rich vascular anatomy with a high functional density of microvessels… which help to protect it from freezing during sleigh rides and to regulate the temperature of the reindeer’s brain, factors essential for flying reindeer pulling Santa Claus’s sleigh under extreme temperatures.” (British Medical Journal, December 2012)

Patient: The Grinch

Medical Issues: “Insomnia, loss of appetite, and irritability, which seemed to worsen during the winter season.”

Physician’s Notes: The Grinch was determined to be suffering from microcardia (his heart was two sizes too small). Diagnosis: Addison’s disease, which causes weight loss and abnormal skin pigmentation (the Grinch is green), and congestive heart failure, which explains the organ’s shrunken size. “The patient was treated with daily cortisol and aldosterone replacement therapy and significant improvement in both symptoms and appearance were noted.” Also: “An absence of external genitalia was noted, but not discussed.” (Canadian Medical Association Journal, December 2001)


The article above is reprinted with permission from Uncle John's OLD FAITHFUL 30th Anniversary edition. Every year for the past three decades, Uncle John and his team of tireless researchers have delivered an epic tome packed with thousands of fascinating factoids. And now this extra-special 30th anniversary edition has everything you've come to expect from the BRI, and more! It's stuffed with 512 pages of all-new articles sure to please everyone.

Since 1988, the Bathroom Reader Institute had published a series of popular books containing irresistible bits of trivia and obscure yet fascinating facts. If you like Neatorama, you'll love the Bathroom Reader Institute's books - go ahead and check 'em out!

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