Q Fever! Medical Humor & Satire

January 17, 2001 | Volume 2, Issue 1

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AMA Embarks on Plan to Ban Apples

"Apple-A-Day" keeping too many doctors away

WASHINGTON, DC - We've all heard the phrase, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." Yet, after exhaustive study and review, the American Medical Association (AMA) has embarked on a lobbying campaign to have the "dreaded fruit" banned in the United States.

Apple-related health issues began, so the story goes, with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and have stretched into recent times with the Alar pesticide scare. Now, citing several new and ongoing concerns, the AMA is pressing for the fruit's immediate ban.

Declining physician salaries
resulting from increased
apple consumption

Essentially, the AMA claims that apples are so successful at "keeping the doctor away" that they are directly influencing a drastic decline in physician salaries.

Dr. Paul Rosenthal, current AMA president, explained recently that "if something isn't done soon about this national apple obsession, doctors will lose their jobs and their livelihood."

Others, meanwhile, have asserted that linking increased apple consumption to declining doctor salaries is misleading, and fails to consider other important factors, such as the rise of HMOs and poor Medicare reimbursement.

Rosenthal concedes that apples are, in and of themselves, "probably harmless," but that the general public improperly regards them as a panacea, leading entire families to forgo preventive screening, annual physicals, and childhood vaccination.

Apples - the scourge
of humanity?

"Apples have been the scourge of humanity since the beginning of time," he added, "and if we don't act now, we risk declining life expectancy and the return of vaccine preventable diseases such as polio and smallpox."

Spokespersons for the nation's apple grower industry have pointed out that the AMA receives 45% of its funding from the Florida Orange Growers Association, highlighting a possible conflict of interests at the heart of the controversy.

The AMA's Rosenthal declined to comment on the AMA-FOGA link, but was spotted by colleagues wearing an "O.J. Did It" T-shirt at the mall on Monday.

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