M*A*S*HCast #55 – Check-Up

M*A*S*HCast -  Season 3, Episode 7: Check-Up

Special Guest Star: Russell Burbage

Air Date: October 22, 1974

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14 responses to “M*A*S*HCast #55 – Check-Up

  1. As a huge Trapper fan, I liked this episode as a sort of showcase for him. I always like when Margaret’s crush on him bubbles to the surface.

    In regards to the guys thinking the ulcer was a ticket home, my guess is that in the past it was one. However, while they were hunkered down in combat surgery new medical techniques had been developed such that it didn’t mean an automatic discharge. But since Hawkeye and Trapper may not be in a place to read the latest medical literature or clinical pathways, they didn’t know about this more medicinal based method to keep things stable. So I give them a pass.

    My bigger complaint is Trapper not telling people he is staying until after the party. Hard to accept all those gifts as goodbye gifts and fond farewells when you know that you aren’t saying goodbye.

    1. I’ve always thought the same about the change in the rules. Six months earlier and Trapper would be heading home.
      As for the party, there were later episodes where they would invent reasons to celebrate. It would boost morale, even if was just for a little while. I like to believe Trapper didn’t want to take that away just yet.

      1. And and Paul, I think you’re probably correct. When medicine advances or there’s a shortage of people in a particular field, the military adjusts its medical standards — much more quickly in the second case than in the first, usually. This is why the vision standard for pilot trainees is 20/20 — unless we have a pilot shortage, and then it’s 20/70, if it’s correctable to 20/20 with glasses. It’s also why we can have amputees with modern, high tech prosthetics serving in some physically demanding career fields. Of course, that’s indicative of another interesting distinction: There are often different standards for the experienced people we’ve spent a ton of money training. It’ll take ten years to make another Navy SEAL chief petty officer, so give that young man a prosthetic and a pair of glasses and let him get back into the fight, if he still wants to go.

  2. Let’s be clear – the way Hawkeye speaks and behaves towards Hotlips during his examination is completely unacceptable. Regardless of their working or personal relationship, at that moment in time she is a patient seeking his medical opinion, and he is inappropriately flirtatious and disrespectful to the point of rudeness. That would be a disciplinary offence at the highest level of the profession in modern times and in my part of the world (UK). Even if Hawkeye avoided being struck off for this, there would be serious retraining & reprimands.

    Talking about weight issues – even to a genuinely obese patient – is almost always a sensitive and tricky subject (Given the obesity crisis in the Western world, Doctors are arguably *too* squeamish about raising the topic), but Hawkeye’s approach is a textbook example of how NOT to do it!

    Given Trapper & Hawkeye’s prodigious alcohol intake, it’s not surprising that at least one of them has an ulcer. Form the sound effect of Trapper pouring his nasty Martini into Frank’s helmet, it sounded as though there was already quite a few discarded cocktails already in there, so perhaps his ulcer has been bubbling under for a while.

    I don’t know about the validity of picking a up stomach ulcer on Xray, but I was surprised that it was described as 1.2 centimeters – I thought Americans were wedded to the Imperial system. Are metric measurements used routinely for clinical findings?

    I had understood that surgery for stomach ulcers was commonplace until the late 1970’s, being superseded by drug treatments in the 1980s. Not sure if it was something you could be drummed out of the Army for, though.

    Oh, and Hernia examination is definitely a two glove examination. (Unless you’re doing it during a pandemic, when it’s also a mask, gown & goggles affair! )

    1. Chris, even stubborn Yanks use metric units in science, medicine, and the military, although you’ll still hear people in those fields slip imperial measurements into conversation. If listen for it, you’ll hear them use both kilometers and miles on M*A*S*H all the time — realistic for draftees, I think.

      1. Forgot to mention the military exception — aviation, which is strongly influenced by the civilian aviation industry and air traffic control. American military aircraft still measure their altitude in feet and their speed in knots (nautical miles per hour). The range of the enemy surface to air missile waiting to knock you out of the sky is measured in nautical miles (6000 feet, or 1.15 statute miles, for you landlubbers with your feet firmly planted on the ground).

      2. Thanks Captain. Brits use a weird mix of both metric and imperial too. The Metric system is officially what we use under EU law (who knows what will happen in future!), but we have a special dispensation for our roadsigns which remain in miles per hour. Pounds & ounces, yards feet & inches remain in common parlance (especially for things like the weight of newborns which refuse to metricate; nobody quotes the weight of their baby in kilograms in the UK, it’s always in pounds & ounces!)

        1. Canada is all metric, except when talking about human beings’ height and weight. Meters and kilos just feel too clunky when describing the range people generally conform to. A fierce imperial tradition remains for those specific things.

          1. I can’t remember how many times I’ve heard on a TV show about a pregnant woman and the nurses are waiting for her to be “dilated to 10 centimeters.”

            But I have had my dermatologist measure moles in centimeters as well.

            I’m just a plethora of information here.

            And why is the spell checker trying to flag “centimeter” as misspelled?????

        2. You’re welcome. These inconsistencies (in the UK and in Canada, looking at Siskoid’s reply) all make perfect sense, somehow.

  3. Hawkeye was a walking #metoo movement. Every time he and Margaret had to do something medical on each other he got sexual. Remember he wanted the flu shot in the butt.

    I get people joke around but it was really demeaning to her considering she was the head nurse and a major in the Army.

    The whole Trapper suddenly getting an ulcer was a bit of a stretch. Was that something Frank would find in a routine physical? And how would Hawkeye know this meant a discharge? Of course the ulcer vanished just like Radar’s girlfriend from a couple episodes ago.

    It was nice to have a Trapper focused episode.

  4. About gloves and hernias, I could totally see a cost-conscious, military rep saying “it’s cheaper to use one glove instead of two”, and the actual doctors all stammer and shake their heads.

    The tease of Trapper going home certainly made a fun story for the show, more than a Rogers spotlight. Any excuse to see “drunk Hot Lips” is welcome.

    Now I know you guys already talked about how continuity is out the window with this episode. But it does make me think of that future episode where Hawkeye bursts in anger about “Trapper went home!” Could this story have made him even more upset? The “left without saying goodbye” might be more painful with the memory of the “almost left” moment. I wonder.

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