Patient Abuse

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"Patient Abuse" is a sketch from the final episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus , "Party Political Broadcast". The sketch is among the few not entirely written by members of Monty Python, and is notable for its considerable amount of black humour. It was co-written by Python Graham Chapman and his friend Douglas Adams, later known for creating The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy . [1] Mind-boggling bureaucracy is a recurring comic theme of Adams' work.

<i>Monty Pythons Flying Circus</i> British sketch comedy television series

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is a British surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring the comedy group Monty Python. The first episode was recorded at the BBC on 7 September and premiered on 5 October 1969 on BBC1, with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, plus two episodes for German TV.

Black comedy Comic work based on subject matter that is generally considered taboo

Black comedy, also known as black humor, dark comedy or gallows humor, is a comic style that makes light of subject matter that is generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered serious or painful to discuss. Writers and comedians often use it as a tool for exploring vulgar issues, by provoking discomfort and serious thought as well as amusement in their audience. Popular themes of the genre include death and violence, discrimination, disease, and human sexuality.

Graham Chapman English comedian, writer and actor

Graham Arthur Chapman was an English comedian, writer, actor, author, and one of the six members of the British surreal comedy group Monty Python. He played authority figures such as the Colonel and the lead role in two Python films, Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979).


The sketch is set in a doctor's office. A man (Terry Jones) rushes in, blood gushing from his stomach. The doctor (Graham Chapman), barely reacting to the blood, blandly asks what the problem is, to which the man responds that the nurse stabbed him. The doctor tells the man that he has to fill out paperwork before receiving any care. [2] With his blood still spilling to the floor, the man attempts to fill out the paperwork, while the oblivious doctor complains about the difficulties of paperwork and bureaucracy. Straining to the floor, the man hands the doctor his blood-soaked paperwork, which the doctor proceeds to criticise ("Surely you know number four! It's from The Merchant of Venice , even I knew that!"). The sketch ends with the nurse (Carol Cleveland) coming in with a bloody sabre, implying that she has just stabbed the last waiting patient. The doctor and the nurse decide to "pop[…] out for a bit of lunch", leaving the dying patient with a second form and the promise of some morphine if he gets at least the questions about history right. [2]

Terry Jones Welsh comedian, screenwriter, actor, film director and author

Terence Graham Parry Jones is a Welsh actor, writer, comedian, screenwriter, film director and historian. He was a member of the Monty Python comedy troupe.

Bureaucracy refers to both a body of non-elected government officials and an administrative policy-making group. Historically, a bureaucracy was a government administration managed by departments staffed with non-elected officials. Today, bureaucracy is the administrative system governing any large institution, whether publicly owned or privately owned. The public administration in many countries is an example of a bureaucracy, but so is the centralized hierarchical structure of a business firm.

<i>The Merchant of Venice</i> play by Shakespeare

The Merchant of Venice is a 16th-century play written by William Shakespeare in which a merchant in Venice named Antonio must default on a large loan provided by a Jewish moneylender, Shylock. It is believed to have been written between 1596 and 1599.

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  1. Douglas Adams: The First and Last Tapes
  2. 1 2 "Monty Python's Flying Circus, Series 4, Episode 6". BBC. Retrieved 29 August 2019.