Exterminating Dermatologists: a true story


Meet Stan.

Stan is my patient.

Stan had cancer,

Stan is cured.

Go, Stan, go.


Stan got a rash.

An itchy rash.

A spotty, itchy rash.

A spotty, itchy rash on his arms, chest and belly.

Stan’s rash did not get better with oatmeal baths.

Stan’s rash did not get better with calamine.

Stan’s rash got worse.

Poor Stan.


Stan called Joe.

Joe is Stan’s best friend.

Joe said, “Hello, Stan.”

Stan said, “Hello Joe, I have a rash.”

Joe is smart.

Joe said, “Stan, you have bugs.”


Stan was upset.

Stan was very upset.

Stan called the exterminator.


The exterminator came right over.

Go exterminator, go.

The exterminator checked the carpets.

The exterminator checked the beds.

The exterminator checked the basement.

The exterminator checked the walls.

No bugs.


The exterminator checked Stan.

Stan had a rash.

The exterminator made a diagnosis.

“Stan, you are allergic to detergent.”

Stan paid the exterminator $100 for the house inspection and diagnosis.


Stan changed detergents.

Stan’s rash got worse.

Stan called the exterminator.

The exterminator said, “Try a natural detergent.”

Stan’s rash got worse.

Scratch, Stan, scratch.


Stan was desperate.

Stan was covered by the rash.

Stan called his doctor.

Stan’s doctor said, “Hello, Stan.”

Stan said, “Hello doctor, I have a rash.”

Stan’s doctor said, “See Jeremy the dermatologist.”


Stan drove in his car.

Drive, Stan, drive.

Stan saw Jeremy the dermatologist.

Jeremy the dermatologist said, “Hello, Stan.”

Stan said, “Hello, Jeremy the dermatologist, I have a rash.”


Jeremy the dermatologist checked Stan.

Jeremy the dermatologist checked the rash.

Jeremy the dermatologist made a diagnosis.

“Stan, you have bugs. You better call an exterminator.”

Poor Stan.


Stan paid a $15 co-pay.

Stan’s insurer paid $32.

Stan called a new exterminator.

One that did not think he was a dermatologist.

Bye, bugs, Bye.


  • Hmmmm. Scabies?...Reminds me of a time I was invited to Thanksgiving by a Pharmacist. He was separated from his wife. His Mother would call me "whats's her name". He would be totally angry at her rude behavior toward me..her games. So, at the dinner table when she addressed me as usual, he brought up the story about her having scabies from staying in a motel somewhere. :)
  • Angela Evans,R.N.
    Most of your blog posts are very pointed and often poinghtent as well. This one was kind of different. I prefer your normal,more substantive type of post.
    • James Salwitz, MD
      Thanks very much for the feedback. I really do appreciate it. On vacation and being a little laid back. Will return at next blog to my usual focus. JCS
      • Mary
        For what it's worth - I thought it was hilarious.
  • The "prose" is a creative attempt to communicate this guys story and also makes some good points about taking correct steps!
  • D Someya Reed
    I got the coming full circle, the wasted payments and the "armchair" diagnostics in the Dick & Jane feel. I felt bad for Stan because of the first five lines and what he must have gone through to accomplish them. It didn't seem fair to Stan and I thought of side-effects. Yet nothing else really seemed to matter but those first five lines and that twelfth word.

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