When Episode 172 of Seinfeld Hits Home: an MD Tale

Sara Cheng, MD/PhD shares a humorous interaction she had early in her medical career.

Remember episode 172 of Seinfeld, when Jerry teaches George a lesson on showmanship?

When you hit that high note, you say goodnight and walk off.”


Well, let me tell you a story.


When I was a surgery intern working 80 hour weeks with 2 children under 4, it was SO hard to find time to study. On my cardiac surgery rotation, I barely got to study at all.


The last day of the month I read ONE PAGE out of Harrison’s enormous tome of Internal Medicine about coronary artery anatomy, the only time that month I cracked a textbook.


The next day, I’m in the cath lab with my team when Dr. Fred Grover, chairman of the department of surgery, wanders in.


A Seinfeld MD Lesson: When Episode 172 of Seinfeld Hits Home: an MD TaleHe glances at me and at my badge, and then asks, “So Sara, can you tell me what a left-dominant heart is?”


I’m like, “Oh, well that’s when the posterior descending artery comes off the circumflex.”


He raises his eyebrows, then asks “OK, how common is that in the population?”


I shrug and say, “About 10% I think.”


He smiles and nods, saying nothing, then walks away.


Later he tells my chief resident, Dr. Pegge Halandras, how smart I am.


So, what do you think I did after that?


I made sure to never speak to him again, of course. I made every effort to avoid bumping into him and never had to work with him again.


In fact, I never actually opened my mouth in his presence again until 5 years later, when he signed some paper needed for my appointment as an assistant professor of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado.


“So happy to do it, Sara. I always knew you’d go far.”






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