Medicine is a noble calling, but that doesn’t mean you can’t laugh at it. In the “Sawbones” podcast, which dives into medicine’s bizarre, sometimes bumbling history, you’ll find plenty to poke fun at in the otherwise serious profession.
The show’s hosts are Sydnee McElroy, a practicing physician and assistant professor of family medicine at Marshall University, and her husband, Justin McElroy. You may recognize Justin’s voice from “My Brother, My Brother and Me,” a podcast hosted by Justin and his brothers.
If you’re interested in the macabre, strange, gross and weird, “Sawbones” delivers. Episodes have covered everything from trepanation, in which a hole is drilled in the skull, to how doctors once tackled scurvy, cholera and hookworm. You’ll learn how old-school doctors used human feces to “cure” plague and how they once raided graves for corpses to study.
The show once focused on only historical medicine, but over time it has turned to modern-day quackery, too — think the recent “raw water” fad, in which people risked their lives drinking unpurified water, and countless diets, “cleanses” and unproven cures.
The podcast’s subtitle is “A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine,” and the couple’s relationship is on display. Shrill and in search of laughs, Justin stands in for a clueless but curious public. Sydnee is self-assured and informative. Together, they balance out the show.
Episodes are usually 30 to 45 minutes long, and plenty of older ones are available for your podcast bingeing pleasure. If you cannot get enough, the couple have a book, too: “The Sawbones Book: The Hilarious, Horrifying Road to Modern Medicine,” published this month.
Ready to plunge into medicine’s morbid past?
Go to maximumfun.org/shows/sawbones, or check out iTunes Podcasts for the show.