Humor in Military Medicine – Part 1 – “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform

When anyone asks me about life in the Armed Forces (the Army – the Navy – or – the Air Force) – I tell them to read the famous World War 2 Novel CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller.

If you have served in the Defence Services – in all probability – you would have read Catch-22 – and even if you have not read it – you would have experienced the essence of Catch-22.

Are you are a motivated youngster who intends joining the Army, Navy or Air Force…?

I suggest you read the book Catch-22 – so that you will be well prepared for the inimitable characters and unique situations you will encounter during your military service.

In CATCH-22 – there is a character called Doc Daneeka – a Medical Officer or MO (as Military Doctors are called). 

Through the actions of “Doc Daneeka” – the author describes the essence of “Military Medicine” – albeit in satirical style. 

This reminds me of a spoof I wrote a few years ago on the subject… 

Humor in Uniform

MILITARY MEDICINE (Military Style Health Care) 


A Fictional Spoof By Vikram Karve


When anyone asks me about life in the Armed Forces (the Army, the Navy, or, the Air Force) – I tell them to read the famous World War II Novel CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller.

If you have served in the Defence Services – in all probability – you would have read Catch-22 – and even if you have not read it – you would have experienced the essence of Catch-22.

Are you are a motivated youngster who intends joining the Army, Navy or Air Force…?

I suggest you read Catch-22 – so that you will be well prepared for the inimitable characters and unique situations you will encounter during your military service.

In CATCH-22 there is a character called Doc Daneeka – a Medical Officer or MO (as military doctors are called).

His style of diagnosis and treatment is simple.

In fact – Doc Daneeka has succeeded in elevating medicine to an exact science.

Doc Daneeka fully delegates diagnosis and treatment to his assistants – two soldiers called “Gus” and “Wes”

These two soldiers run the healthcare system in the military unit on their own with so much efficiency – that Doc Daneeka is left with nothing to do – which is fine with him – since he hates medical practice anyway.

The modus operandi of the Military Healthcare System is as follows:

All “patients” (who report on sick parade) have a thermometer shoved into their mouths and have their temperature taken.

  1. Those with body temperatures above 102 degrees Fahrenheit are rushed to the hospital in an ambulance.
  1. Those having temperatures below 102 degrees Fahrenheit have their gums and throats painted with gentian violet (throat paint) and are given a dose of laxative to clear their stomachs and digestive systems.
  1. Those who have a temperature of exactly 102 degrees Fahrenheit are told to come after one hour to have their temperature taken again so that the line of treatment could be decided as follows:

(a) Temperature more than 102 – rush to hospital

(b) Temperature less than 102 – throat paint + laxative to clear digestive system

  1. After one hour –if a patient’s temperature is still 102 – he is asked to keep reporting to the clinic every one hour – till his temperature either goes above 102 – or his temperature comes down below 102 – so that he could be treated accordingly – as per option 1 or option 2 above. 

During my long service in the Navy – and in inter-service establishments – I came across many such “Doc Daneeka” style Doctors in the Military.

You cannot escape these “Doc Daneeka” types even after retirement – since they pursue you in the ECHS too.


I have observed another “Doc Daneeka” technique – used sometimes by the ECHS in its clinics – since it works better when dealing with ageing old retired veteran senior citizen ex-servicemen (who are considered a nuisance).

There is a saying:

“Time is a great healer”

The essence of this ECHS technique is to make the patients wait indefinitely in the crowded waiting room of the clinic – and let “time” do the “healing”.

On reporting to the ECHS clinic – the hapless old-aged frail unwell senior citizen ex-serviceman is made to stand in a long queue – and then he is given a chit.

Of course – before this – they try to get rid of the veteran by raking up some issue about his ECHS Card – and – the hapless veteran is sent on a “wild goose paperwork chase” and put in a “red-tape spin”.

But – if the veteran is lucky – then the sick old man is made to wait indefinitely – for a long time – in a congested jam-packed waiting hall.

Five things can happen to the patient – a sick and ailing old man – while he waits at the ECHS clinic:

  1. The patient drops dead.

In this case – no further treatment is required at the clinic

  1. The patient faints – he becomes unconscious –or he goes into a delirium – as he becomes seriously ill.

In this case – he is rushed to the nearest Military Hospital

  1. The patient gets fed up of waiting at the ECHS Clinic – so – he goes to the nearest private clinic for treatment for which he has to pay from his own pocket.

The ECHS view is that though ECHS contribution is forcibly deducted and membership of the healthcare scheme is mandatory – it is the patient’s personal choice whether to avail ECHS treatment – or to go to a private medical practitioner – so ECHS is quite happy if the Military Veteran goes elsewhere for medical treatment – thereby – reducing the load on ECHS.

  1. If the military veteran patient persists in waiting at the ECHS clinic – he is got rid off by referring him to an “empanelled”civilian hospital

If you wonder what happens to the sick military veteran patient when he is referred to an empanelled civilian hospital – well – the horror stories could easily fill a huge tome – and more.

  1. Well – there can be a happy experience too – for the military veteran patient who perseveres in waiting for many hours at the ECHS clinic. 

The patient actually starts feeling well during the waiting period – the sick veteran is cured by the long relaxed wait.

After all – rest is the best cure for many illnesses – and – time is a great healer. 

Now – since he has become well – the veteran does not need any medical treatment at the ECHS Clinic – so he can go away happy – after spending a leisurely relaxed day at the ECHS clinic. 

Dear Military Veteran: Do visit an ECHS clinic and tell us whether you see the “Doc Daneekas” around – and their style of treatment of patients.


Make Patients Disappear 

(Ultimate Goal = Zero Patients)

Remember – the cardinal “Doc Daneeka Principle” is to make patients disappear and realize your ultimate goal of a “Zero Patient” situation.

And – in this direction – I think the ECHS is trying hard by introducing more and more “hurdles” like increasing red-tape and paperwork – introducing hassles like repeated renewal of cards etc – locating clinics in inaccessible distant places – and trying its best to make patients go elsewhere to seek medical treatment – so that soon – ECHS achieves its ultimate goal of “zero patients”

By the way – it was also a “Doc Daneeka” type masterstroke by the Armed Forces in the 1980s – when – the Defence Services abdicated responsibility for post-retirement healthcare of their own veteran retired ex-servicemen by creating a new organisation called ECHS – and they effectively passed the buck of post-retirement healthcare to ECHS.



There are many excellent doctors and brilliant specialists in uniform – but most of the professionally outstanding “fauji” medical officers are posted at VIP Military Hospitals in New Delhi and in large stations like Mumbai, Kolkata, Pune, Bangalore etc where abundant medical facilities already exisit in civilian hospitals.

There are many first-rate doctors posted in smaller units also.

So – by and large – there may be more “Doc Daneekas” in smaller units/ships – but – if you observe carefully – you can spot a few “Doc Daneekas” in big military hospitals too – like – the pediatrician who hated children.

Yes – a pediatrician is a child-specialist – and is supposed to like children – but this child-specialist hated children.

This happened long back – when my kids were small – in Vizag – when I came across this unique “Doc Daneeka in Uniform” Pediatrician – a Navy Lady Doctor in Uniform – a child-specialist who hated children.

Yes – believe it not – she was a Pediatrician who hated children.

This Child-Specialist “Fauji” Doctor was unmarried – she had no experience of handling children – and worse – she hated children.

This “child-hater” Pediatrician was a “Doc Daneeka in Uniform” specimen of a different kind.

Her tactic was to avoid seeing children (who she hated).

She insisted on proper “paper work” – and – she would not see sick children unless you had got a “referral” through proper channel.

If anyone took their child/baby to her directly – she would scream and create a scene – and – shout at the hapless parents to follow proper procedure – and get a proper referral from their unit/ship doctor or general OPD.

The result was that – due to all these hassles and delays – the parents of sick children took their children to civilian doctors (paying from their pockets).

So – hardly any “children-patients” reached the “child-hater” Pediatrician – and she was having a relaxed tenure.



Luckily – we had a Command Medical Officer (a Surgeon Commodore) – who was an exception to the rule – he was certainly not a “Doc Daneeka” in Uniform – in fact – he was a genuine Doctor in Uniform.

Ths Surgeon Commodore – the Command Medical Officer (CMO) – was himself a renowned pediatrician – an outstanding child-specialist – and he loved children.

Yes – he was a Pediatrician who loved children – unlike the young lady “child-hater” Pediatrician in the Naval Hospital.

Now – Command Medical Officer (CMO) was a staff appointment – so his job was to push files in Headquarters.

Had he been a typical “Doc Daneeka” in Uniform – he would have preferred to do paperwork rather than treat patients – but – the CMO was a genuine doctor who wanted to practice medicine.

He opened a “Child OPD” in his office in Command Headquarters – and – we all used to take our children to him for treatment.

However – even this magnanimous act of the CMO had no effect on the shameless “Doc Daneeka” in Uniform child-hater lady pediatrician – who seemed to be quite happy at the turn of events – since now – everyone took their children to the CMO – so the lady “Doc Daneeka” child-hater child-specialist had to see no “children-patients” – whom she hated anyway.


In order to understand why there are so many “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform – let me give you a simple illustrative example.

Suppose there a two surgeons.

The first surgeon does 100 surgeries per month.

The second surgeon does only 10 surgeries per month.

In Private Practice – it is obvious that the first surgeon (who does more surgical operations) will earn more money – and the surgeon who performs more surgeries will also progress faster up the ladder of professional success and fame.

In case of “Fauji” Doctors – it does not matter – because – whether you do 100 surgeries per month – or – 10 surgeries a month – or – even if you do “zero” surgeries per month – you will get a fixed monthly pay as per your rank and seniority.

Also – promotion is by seniority – so you have to wait in the queue for your turn to come – irrespective of your merit and work performance.

If someone has joined service before you – he is ahead of you in the queue – and so – he will get promoted before you.

So – a “Fauji” Doctor sitting in Headquarters pushing files will get the same pay as his batchmate who is slogging it out treating patients in a Military Hospital.

And – seniority matters more than professional competence.

So – in case the File Pushing White-Collar Babu “Fauji” Doctor has joined the Army Medical Corps earlier – he will be senior in service to the Professional “Fauji” Doctor.

So – the “White-Collar” Babu “Fauji” Doctor doing administrative work will be promoted earlier than the Professional “Fauji” Doctor who is actually practicing medicine in the field – in accordance with the sacrosanct principle of seniority.

So – maybe – it is the “system” – which creates so many “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform.

I am sure you have read about some of my hilarious encounters with these “Doc Daneeka” style “Fauji” Doctors in my blog – of course – I will tell you some more from time to time.

Now – Dear Reader – let me ask you the moot question:

If you are thinking of studying medicine – would you like to be a “Doc Daneeka” in Uniform…?

Ha Ha Ha…!!!

And – Dear Military Veterans – did you encounter any “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform during your Military Service or after your Retirement…?


Do tell us about your experiences.

To Be Continued – Next Story coming up soon in Humor in Military Medicine – Part 2…


Copyright © Vikram Karve
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  1. This blog post is a fictional spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
  2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:

No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved)

Link to my source posts in my Blog Academic and Creative Writing Journal Vikram Karve and Writing Blogs: and and

This article (humorous fictional spoof) was written by me Vikram Karve more than 7 years ago in early 2011 and posted online by me Vikram Karve a number of times in my blogs including at urls:  and and and and and etc


  1. […] In my previous blog post I told you about “Doctors” in Uniform  […]


  2. […] Continued from Part 1 “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform  […]


  3. […] Continued from Part 1 “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform  […]


  4. […] Continued from Part 1 “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform  url: […]


  5. […] Continued from Part 1 “Doc Daneekas” in Uniform  url: […]


  6. […] I have described a few in my series of stories:  “DOC DANEEKA IN UNIFORM” […]


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