This is a re-written version of a blogpost that I put up on northerndoctor.com back in 2008. The death of Jack Klugman seems an appropriate time to post a small tribute.
Kick back and enjoy the classic opening theme for a minute. It’s a proper little earworm – I’ll be humming it for days now. Doo doo-doodoo doo dooo!
One of my resolutions when teaching medical students is to stop making cultural references that are likely to be met with blank looks. Partly because it baffles the students – most of them were not born when Quincy was in his pomp – but mainly because it is mildly depressing for me.
Quincy, M.E. is the reason I am a doctor.
With no doctors in my family, and in the pre-internet universe (how did we cope?), my view of the medical profession was limited to 1980s television. That really didn’t extend much beyond Quincy, early Casualty and that programme, Doctors to Be, that followed some St Mary’s medical students through their course. That really was it. Exposure to Quincy at such an impressionable age meant that I initially assumed I would go on to be a forensic pathologist. The postmortem scenes may look tepid by today’s maggot-ridden standards but at the time they were thrillingly morbid. However, when I arrived at medical school in 1992 I was very quickly disillusioned after about 5 minutes into our first histology lesson. Squinting down microscopes at pinkish-purplish blobs with my defective colour vision meant pathology quickly lost any glamorous associations with Quincy.
Klugman was magnificent as the character and Quincy remains a great, albeit fictional, role model. He was phenomenally tenacious with exemplary clinical skills. Most importantly, he had a moral compass second to none. All of this was allied to an ability to sniff out a corporate murder from the other side of the county. He was also a bit of a one for the ladies and he enjoyed a good rant at stifling bureaucracy. What a legend.Read More