Hi there Dr.Scott.I'm Ahad (pronounced as “AA” like when the doc wants to examine your throat then followed by “had”) an emergency medicine resident and junior educator for King Saud University at King Khalid University Hospital from Saudi Arabia.I wanted to tell you the whole story about the mnemonic “DOPE”. It was initially used by plumbers and oil workers in the 1950s. They used a substance which was a chemical sealant called “pipe dope” to seal pipes. They used to check the integrity of the pipes by saying “Don't forget DOPE” and also to remind them to apply it in the first place.How they used the mnemonic is very similar to how doctors use it…D=displacement of the pipes that are joinedO=obstruction within the pipes tested due to the substance clogging the inside of the pipeP=pneumatic pump to test for air leaksE=equipment failure in testing e.g hydraulics…etcOne day there was a plumbing problem and a leak was found in one of the ORs the plumbers were there and one shouted “Don't forget DOPE” while explaining what to do to the other plumber… This incident occurred right in front of Dr.John Joseph Bonica (Wrestling Champ 1941and Anesthesiologist) and a couple of his residents/medical students (not sure) while he was explaining checking anesthesia equipments… he laughed and said “Don't forget DOPE”.At that time it wasn't linked with endotrachial intubation! One of his student/residents linked it later on. That doctor was Prof.Thomas Michals who mentioned this story to the professor who told me this story Prof.Edward Luther Strivani ….Hope that helped… By the way it was officially mentioned in the ATLS book in the 7th ed only…Regards,Ahad
Cite this post as:
Scott Weingart. Origins of the Dope Mnemonic. EMCrit Blog. Published on January 24, 2011. Accessed on June 4th 2020. Available at [https://emcrit.org/emcrit/origins-of-the-dope-mnemonic/ ].
Unless otherwise noted at the top of the post, the speaker(s) and related parties have no relevant financial disclosures.
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