What Bob’s Burgers Taught Me About Patient Communication

 In Blog

If you’re into adult cartoons (and by this, I don’t mean porno), you might want to check out Bob’s Burgers. Been hearing about it for a while, but last night caught my first episode. Here’s the synopsis and how it might actually relate to patient care…


Bob is the owner of a restaurant and bar. Bob is a typical American dad just trying to earn a buck. Without encouraging it, Bob’s Burgers becomes an outlaw biker bar. The bikers raise a little hell, intimidate some of the townsfolk who confront Bob and the bikers. Mr. and Mrs. Upright Citizens claim the bikers are destroying their town and the moral fiber of their society. During their self righteous diatribe, one of the biker chicks, Mud Flap,  goes into labor.

As luck would have it, the upright citizens brigade is headed up by a doctor. When he helps to deliver the baby, he intentionally engages Mud Flap in conversation.

Doc: “What’s your name, miss?”

Mud Flap: “It’s Mud Flap.”

Doc: “Mud Flap…that was my mother’s name!”

Mud Flap: “Really?”

Doc: “No, not really. A mud flap is a dirty part of a truck.”


Yes this is adult cartoon stupidity, but the doctor actually engaged the patient and asked her name, then tried to bridge their conversation with something common. Granted, he ended up insulting her, but c’mon, it’s just a cartoon!


Either way, health care pros, take a lesson from a weird cartoon: ask your patient’s name and find some commonality between the two of you….ya never know. You just may have more in common with someone named Mud Flap than you might think!

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  • Amy

    Great insights, Marcus!

    Aside from finding something in common with the patient, I love it when healthcare professionals have a sense of humor – when it’s appropriate and welcomed. I recently had to have a procedure done and asked my doc, “will it hurt?” to which he replied, “I do them all the time, and they don’t hurt me a bit.” We both laughed and then he gave me a more serious answer to my question. The laugh we shared helped ease the discussion about more serious matters and reminded me to chill out, I’m in good hands. If my doc can keep a smile on his face and we can both find something to share a chuckle over, then I must not be in too bad a shape.


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