What’s wrong with this picture?

My youngest and I often do the “Find 6 Different Things” in the Sunday comics. He is good at finding anomalies. All day at work I showed the picture in the link that follows and asked: What is wrong with this picture?

Almost everyone found at least one thing wrong (I find two) in less than 10 seconds, my 12 year old included.

Click on the link,  look at the first  photograph and you tell me.

What’s wrong with this picture?

I will post  my answer tomorrow in the comments.

Posted in: Acupuncture, Humor

Leave a Comment (56) ↓

56 thoughts on “What’s wrong with this picture?

  1. hellocthulu says:

    Gloves, motherfuckers!!! WHERE ARE YOUR GLOVES?!?!?!?!

  2. Chris says:

    No gloves and her hair dangling down over her face.

  3. hellocthulu says:

    I didn’t notice the hair thing, I was too busy screaming “GLOVES, MOTHERFUCKER!!!!! WHERE ARE YOUR GLOVES?!”

  4. Samuel says:

    Her mood ring is green?

  5. Dr Benway says:

    LOL. The student failed to note that the patient’s already s/p L foot chi-ectomy. Poking about the medial malleolus isn’t going to unblock anything. Well, except the patient’s wallet.

  6. Mark Crislip says:

    I am feeling optimistic that the readers are having the proper spirit.

  7. Doazic says:

    They are not in jail?

  8. Jivlain says:

    Ye gads! “So the ceremony also featured a drum circle and a “corporate shaman” — also the college board chair — who talks about quantum physics and has anointed the campus with cornmeal.”

    Oh, wait, that’s not out of place at all. My bad.

  9. henning says:

    Well, according to what I was taught in nursing college, she needs to put on some gloves, tie back her hair, remove the ring and the wristwatch, and most importantly STOP POKING HOLES IN THE PATIENT FOR NO GOOD REASON.

  10. Blue Wode says:

    The feng shui in the room in the second photo has been severely compromised, i.e. the table should be round, not square. The corners of the existing table interfere greatly with the facilitation of smooth energy flow. Huge blunder.

  11. qetzal says:

    No gloves, no lab coat, and no name tags.

    Plus, neither of the people standing is qualified to treat patients, but you have to read the text to find that out.

  12. Well, at first I was gonna say that the student isn’t wearing gloves and the instructor doesn’t seem bothered by that. Then I realized, of course, that since ‘naturopathic medicine’ is science-based, the student is obviously using a toothpick and not piercing skin, so no gloves needed. Duh.

  13. tariqata says:

    Yep, no gloves, the hair – and perhaps the fact that they’re calling this “medicine”?

    I didn’t twig to the labcoat though.

  14. caoimh says:

    It may be more expedient to ask “what’s right with this picture”

  15. The faux-riental woman looks a bit nervous. Some Chi tea might help. Oh, that’s Chai tea? My bad.

  16. Joe says:

    I noticed the lack of gloves immediately (phew, wouldn’t want to be bested by a 12-year-old). The second problem took me a little while. There have been some good guesses by people not familiar with the acupuncture literature. The true error is that she is needling the chi hua hua point; which is no longer considered effective.

  17. sowellfan says:

    Gloves is definitely an issue, but I don’t see why the lack of a lab coat would matter. In fact, from what I’ve read about the UK going to ‘Nothing past the elbows’, or whatever that policy is called, it seems like going without a nasty lab coat with long sleeves is probably a good thing.

  18. Joe says:

    @ sowellfan on 01 Oct 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I didn’t state it but the whole presentation was not aseptic. Perhaps the doctors will comment on a “labcoat” vs. “scrubs” for such a procedure; fresh scrubs would be more hygienic. As for “nothing past the elbows,” we may see guidelines asking males to forgo wearing neckties.

  19. Basiorana says:

    Hair in her face.
    Loose clothes and a long sleeved sweater.
    He’s also got a sweater and long sleeves on.

    @ Kimball Atwood– Even with no piercing of skin, no gloves is ridiculous. Have you ever had a doctor perform an examination without gloves? And of your FEET? Even physical therapists will wear gloves when touching a patient’s bare feet.

    @ Joe– UK hospitals already have no-tie policies.

  20. Basiorana says:

    Oh, and that was supposed to say gloves first, but it got cut off.

  21. Skeptic says:

    Hmm…is it just me or does that patient’s left foot look more than a tad swollen. Could be just a trick of the light and the camera angle…

    However, I feel confident that there can’t be anything wrong in the picture…after all, there is a real Chinese person supervising the procedure. Just as I know from watching many movies that all Chinese know martial arts I’m sure I can be just as confident that the ancient Chinese wisdom of acupuncture supervised by an actual Chinese person means that the treatment is completely safe and efficacious. Duh. I mean it is ancient, it is easy to understand (you just need to adjust the Qi flow) *and* it is exotic. So it has to work. QED.

  22. @Basiorana:

    Obviously you have no appreciation of da delicate art of de Qi. Besides, if it’s good enough for dese guys, it’s good enough for Natural Healers.

  23. Zetetic says:

    Someone mentioned “Chai Tea”…

    My Indian friends would jump all over you because of the redundancy — “Chai” means “Tea” ! ;-)

  24. iamthebrillo says:

    It might be the angle of the photo, but it looks like the student’s eyes are closed. Quite literally the blind leading the blind, eh?

    Also, the wall in the background is missing a diploma from an accredited university…

  25. CodeSculptor says:

    No masks, no gloves, her sweater has dangles, her hair is in her face, she has an uncovered bracelet, they are practicing acupuncture.

  26. eschatologist says:

    Obviously you guys know nothing about the science of naturopathic medicine – it is well-known that gloves impede the flow of qi, plus they are so cold and unfeeling. Anyway, acupuncture balances the immune system so there are no infection-shaped holes in your aura, making sterility a non-issue.

  27. Joe says:

    @eschatologist on 01 Oct 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Dang, I think we all overlooked that, now we are down to just one problem with that picture.

  28. LovleAnjel says:

    You’ve all missed the big picture. They anointed the campus with cornmeal. CORNMEAL. You use SALT for purification! Now the evil spirits are trapped in the clinic walls.

  29. Todd W. says:

    I notice the distinct lack of wisps of smoke from incense. Why are they not burning herbs? Clearly, the patient is getting ripped off.

  30. Spunk-Monkey says:

    If the patient is suffering from anything truly serious, the dress violations are inconsequential. They should probably start with a toe-tag.

  31. Versus says:

    I agree the sweater is all wrong. That pale grey just doesn’t work with the dark khaki skirt.

  32. Kausik Datta says:

    I cannot speak for anyone else, but scenes like this make me real glad that I got the fuck out of Portland, Oregon about a year back. Portland is a beautiful city and shall always remain in my memories, but it is too woo-infested for my liking. Even when I tried to set up a regular primary care physician for my wife and me, as a postdoc in OHSU (those familiar with Portland will know what it is ;)), the university health center very nearly shunted us to practitioners of the holistic/integrative medicine crap. Just look here for a sample! What I cannot understand is this: some of the people here have had the benefit of very good medical education at premier institutions in the country. How can they remain true to their education, training and profession, if they choose to muck about in the pseudoscience of integrative medicine? Or am I just being naive?

  33. antipodean says:

    Without looking at any of the other comments.

    1. No Gloves and a lot of jewelery

    2. No ID badges- they snuck in from the street?

    3. No clue what they are doing…

    Also on the snarky side: Since you can identify and treat every single disease known to man (and a few that don’t actually exist) by fucking around with people’s feet shouldn’t you blank out the soles of the patient’s feet to protect their anonymity?

    Right now I’ve read the other comments…

    You don’t need labcoats to practice medicine. It’s just an affectation.

  34. Ben Kavoussi says:

    Hi MedsVsTherapy, I love the expression “faux-riental!” This is the exactly right word to describe medical orientalists!

  35. wertys says:

    No gloves needed, as acupuncture has been safely used for at least two thirds of human evolution in China where they don’t subscribe to the germ theory of disease (stupid European dead white males and their semmelweissian theories)

  36. Dr Benway says:

    Kausik Datta, med students are kept in a state of extended adolescence and suggestibility. This helps them soak up everything they are told like super-sponges. But it leaves them vulnerable to pseudoscience, particularly if their senior colleagues are woo friendly.

  37. Mark Crislip says:

    I must say that the responses often made me laugh out loud and we have an astute and funny readership.

    We should have the occasional photo from the world of woo just so the readers can make a comment.

    The two things I saw were
    1) The lack of gloves on the hands and
    2) There appears to be two boxes of gloves on the shelves behind the student. So while they have them, they don’t know how to use them. I often pull two left handed gloves out of the box, perhaps they pulled a left handed glove out for the right hand and a right handed glove for the left.

    Here is a reference as to why it might be important for an acupuncturist to understand germs:

    Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol. 2008 Sep;29(9):859-65.
    Outbreak of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infection associated with acupuncture and joint injection.
    Murray RJ, Pearson JC, Coombs GW, Flexman JP, Golledge CL, Speers DJ, Dyer JR, McLellan DG, Reilly M, Bell JM, Bowen SF, Christiansen KJ.

    Department of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, PathWest Laboratory Medicine WA-Royal Perth Hospital, West Perth, Perth, Western Australia.

    OBJECTIVE: To describe an outbreak of invasive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection after percutaneous needle procedures (acupuncture and joint injection) performed by a single medical practitioner.
    SETTING: A medical practitioner’s office and 4 hospitals in Perth, Western Australia. PATIENTS: Eight individuals who developed invasive MRSA infection after acupuncture or joint injection performed by the medical practitioner.
    METHODS: We performed a prospective and retrospective outbreak investigation, including MRSA colonization surveillance, environmental sampling for MRSA, and detailed molecular typing of MRSA isolates. We performed an infection control audit of the medical practitioner’s premises and practices and administered MRSA decolonization therapy to the medical practitioner. RESULTS: Eight cases of invasive MRSA infection were identified. Seven cases occurred as a cluster in May 2004; another case (identified retrospectively) occurred approximately 15 months earlier in February 2003. The primary sites of infection were the neck, shoulder, lower back, and hip: 5 patients had septic arthritis and bursitis, and 3 had pyomyositis; 3 patients had bacteremia, including 1 patient with possible endocarditis. The medical practitioner was found to be colonized with the same MRSA clone [ST22-MRSA-IV (EMRSA-15)] at 2 time points: shortly after the first case of infection in March 2003 and again in May 2004. After the medical practitioner’s premises and practices were audited and he himself received MRSA decolonization therapy, no further cases were identified.
    CONCLUSIONS: This outbreak most likely resulted from a breakdown in sterile technique during percutaneous needle procedures, resulting in the transmission of MRSA from the medical practitioner to the patients. This report demonstrates the importance of surveillance and molecular typing in the identification and control of outbreaks of MRSA infection.

    PMID: 18684094

  38. Skeptic says:

    MRSA? MRSA??? If a patient gets MRSA its because they didn’t have the right positive attitude and Qi flow…You act like MRSA is some sort of dangerous pathogenic bacteria or something rather than a symptom of a patient’s energy flow being out of alignment.

    Sheesh, trying to blame a TCM practitioner for the negative thoughts of a patient…really, some people…trying to play the situation for Qieap laughs…

  39. BigHeathenMike says:

    Well, I have to say that since the “patient’s” aura was bluish and the heart chakra was eminating a wondrous yellow healing light, plus the obvious fact that there was an indigo quartz necklace on the “patient” (seen in the crystal glow from the luminescent structure of deep quartz), that the instructor was actually the one laying on the table. The student was the gentleman on the left, and the true patient was the one inserting the needle. Trick question! Well played, Dr. Crislip. Well played.

  40. Skeptic says:

    …which reminds me, I wonder if their is a Traditional Chinese Medicine version of the kids game Operation? Where you have to push the needles into the meridians just right, except the buzzer never goes off since you can actually put acupuncture needles anywhere…

  41. this is the most funniest set of comments i believe the internets has evar generated. keep ‘em coming!

    –i am not the first to say “faux-riental.” it did occur to me one day out of the blue, but a quick Google prevented me from laying claim. I have been around these faux-rientals a good bit, starting in the 80s — I was studying Indian epistemology, and stumbled across various pasty white guys treading a deliberate path into the Asian Studies Library (they are known by those black canvas karate slippers) to seek enlightenment – or at least an identity.

  42. Deetee says:

    What’s wrong?
    They aren’t doing acupuncture, that’s what’s wrong.
    She is clearly demonstrating the correct technique for extracting guinea worm.

  43. @Skeptic:

    Isn’t the word correctly spelled “Qip”?

  44. Skeptic says:

    @ # Kimball Atwood,

    You are probably right…sigh…

    …on the other hand, your thinking is constrained your reductionist Western Imperialist orthography. There is no objective reality but the one we make through our quantum observations. My spelling is a different paradigm. It is a an ancient, natural holistic form of thought communication (and therefore superior) and can’t be judged by your western reductionism!

  45. daijiyobu says:

    Coincidentally, I’m holding in my hand right now a USPS mailing I received from NCNM’s admissions department on 2009-10-28.

    I like to keep up with NCNM’s postal fraud: the labeling of the completely science-ejected as science, and the coding of their sectarian belief set in manipulative / deceptive naturalistic language.

    It has some nice examples of such in it, too:

    “[NCNM’s] three exceptional degree programs […] in the art and science of natural medicine […the] ND […the] MSOM […the] MAc […all based on] NCNM philosophy […centered upon] the intrinsic healing power of nature […] the human body is in tune with a natural force that moves living things toward a healthy state [(coded vitalism)…within a] body, mind and spirit [(supernaturalism)…and] Rita Bettenburg, ND. Dean of Naturopathic Medicine […says] ‘the medicine is proving itself […] in science’.”

    I’m a junkie for the naturopaTHICK [my term for their stupidity / absurdity].

    The article’s picture may pertain to these THICKnesses:

    a) NCNM’s MSOM, “Master of Science in Oriental Medicine”:

    at we’re told that the “science” is “holistic life science” that “will take you outside the Western concept of science” and that Oriental Medicine is — ISYN — “an independent science that has its own parameters and does not require validation by other scientific systems” [“THICK” enough for you?].

    b) NCNM’s ND, “Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine”:

    at we’re told that the hugely nonscientific survives scientific scrutiny [“THICK” enough for you?].

    These degrees are truly EXCEPTIONAL: as in ‘except your science isn’t science at all’!

    Perhaps their answer: ‘oh, you thought we were science! No, we’re not science, we’re science.’


  46. Kausik Datta says:

    I say, “Skeptic FTW!” S/He is in great form today!

  47. Ben Kavoussi says:

    Honestly, the fact that they are touching the herbs with their hands and that their is dangling down should not be a real concern. First, the peaches and the tomatoes we buy at grocery stores have been handled by even less-hygiene-conscious people and we still eat them. This is why we have an immune system after all. Also, these herbs are destined to be boiled for 20-60 minutes, which kills almost all organic pathogens.

    But, the real menace is elsewhere. Most these herbs come from China where there are almost no regulations on heavy metal content of botanicals. This is why a consumer protection NGO by the name of As You Sow took action a few years ago against the presence of lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury in herbs and other “medicinal” remedies imported from China and other developing countries. You can read more about it here:

  48. Skeptigirl says:

    Since my practice deals with health care worker needlesticks and other biological occupational exposures, I was called to an acupuncture school for such an event. A student suffered a needlestick while handling an acupuncture needle after it was used. I was quite bothered to find out acupuncture needles (according to this school and the package they come in) only need to be clean, not sterile.

    I will say they accepted hepatitis B and influenza vaccinations and I’ve been vaccinating the students and staff ever since the event. I hope they listen to my suggestions about needle safety and infection control.

    In this state we have legislators passing legislation that amounts to practicing medicine without a license. They have mandated we not use vaccines with thimerosal in kids under 3yrs and in pregnant women, despite the CDC position (and all the evidence) that thimerosal is safe. Yet the practice of sticking nonsterile needles into people in clinics where people come in for infections goes unaddressed.

    And allowing these sCAM practices to continue despite the fact there is little or no evidence supporting the effectiveness of these practices doesn’t seem to concern either the state or the federal legislators in the US.

  49. DLC says:

    no gloves.
    hair hanging down over her face and over the suckerpatient.
    oh, and she’s sticking a needle into someone with the false hope that the act of doing so will cause some positive medical outcome.
    Oh, and they’re not wearing the right uniforms.
    In this case, the right uniforms would be those orange jumpsuits the jails issue. Fraud is illegal in all 50 states.

  50. DLC says:

    Blast. how was I to know html code would’t work!
    “sucker” should be in strikethrough.
    Or perhaps sucker-patient is actually on target.

  51. The Blind Watchmaker says:

    I looked at the picture without reading any of the text first. My first impression was that the lady was showing the student how to do the filament “light touch” test for diabetic peripheral neuropathy. My first guess at “what is wrong with this picture” was that one does not typically do this on the medial malleolus.

    Then I read the text. Boy, was I wrong.

  52. Joe says:

    @DLC on 03 Oct 2009 at 7:13 pm “Blast. how was I to know html code would’t work!
    “sucker” should be in strikethrough.
    Or perhaps sucker-patient is actually on target.”

    Sucker-patient is good; but doctors have “patients” and quacks have “customers”.

  53. Jaban says:

    A bit late…

    The first thing I noticed wrong is that the article is under “Health” instead of under “Entertainment.”

  54. Steveroot says:

    Great responses here. If any of my dental students committed the errors in asepsis and professional decorum demonstrated here, they would be eligible for suspension from the clinic.

  55. gudruncaffrey says:

    Please remember that one doesn’t need to be ‘alternative’ or ‘complementary’ to disregard universal precautions:

  56. jofspammo says:

    It is important to teach your children to be afraid of alternative medicines at a young age. When you go to Micky D’s, do you teach your kids that Ronald McDonald is an evil clown that feeds them addictive, illness-producing garbage and that this is part of a mainstream system that really cares little about improving the health of Americans, but only protecting its profits? Ask them what’s wrong (or right) with these pictures:

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