Summary “The Man Who Was a Hospital” by Jerome K. Jerome

This is a humorous essay. The author targets people who harbor various

illusions and teaches us that ignorance can sometimes be dangerous. We should not do the thing which talent we don’t have.

Once the author was reading an ad for a liver pill, the ad taught the symptoms of liver failure. So he went to the British Museum. He suspected that he had typhoid. Then in a state of ignorance, he started looking through a book about diseases. He came to know that this disease has also been inflicted on him.

Then his eyes fell on the details of another disease, this disease was St. Vitus’s Dance.  After studying its symptoms, he felt that he had also contracted this disease. He decided to read and check the details of all the diseases. After studying all the diseases, he came to the conclusion that he had all the diseases except house maid’s knee.

He regretted why he didn’t get the disease. He thought he had become a hospital in himself. Now it is better for medical students to just examine him and get a degree than to see the entire hospital’s patients. He went to the doctor for a check-up, who happened to be his  friend.

He read it and handed it back to the author saying that he did not have these things. The author read the prescription. It said one pound of meat every six hours,  10 mile walk every morning, going to bed at exactly 11 o’clock every night and clearing your mind with  things you can’t understand. The author followed the instructions and became healthy.

Exercise Short Questions

Q.No.1 How did Jerome K. Jerome come to suspect that his liver was out of order? What were the diseases he thought he was suffering from on reading a book on the treatment of diseases?

Ans:  The author studied the symptoms of liver disease and found that he had all the symptoms of this disease so he suspected that his liver was out of order, then he read a book on the treatment of these diseases and found out that he had typhoid fever, St. Vitus Dance, Nephritis, Cholera, Diphtheria, Contagious Disease, Rapid pulse, Dysentery, and Scarlet Fever.

Q.No.2 What was the disease the writer discovered he didn’t have?

Q.No.3 Was the writer pleased to find that he didn’t have housemaid’s knee?

Ans(Q2, Q3): The only disease the author did not suffer from was Housemaid’s knee. Not suffering from this disease, he felt ashamed. He complained why God had made him an imperfect writer. The writer was unhappy.

Q.No.4  What was the first reaction of the writer when he thought that he was suffering from all diseases?

Ans:  The writer found himself in disgust and fear. He sat frozen in fear for some time. The more he read, the more traumatized he became.

Q.No.5 Why should the writer be an acquisition to the medical class?

Ans:  The author thought that he was suffering from all diseases except one. So he would be useful to medical students who would not need to go around the hospital for medical practice. They would just stand around him and do different things and learn about the types of diseases.

Q.No.6 Describe writer’s visit to the medical man?

Ans:  The author went to his doctor and told him his problem. The doctor looked inside his mouth. He checked his pulse. He tapped him on the chest. Then he hit him with his head. Then he sat down wrote out a prescription and handed it over to the author.

Q.No.7 The writer thought he was doing the doctor a good turn by going to him. Why?

Ans:  The author considered himself a patient of all diseases. The main objective of the doctor is to gain practice.  He thought that the doctor would get more practice from him than 1700 regular patients. So he was doing the doctor a favor.

Q.No.8 What was the prescription given to him by the doctor?


“1 Ib beefsteak”

Every six hours.

Ten-mile walk every morning,

Bed at 11 sharp every night.

And don’t stuff your head with things

You don’t understand.

Q.No.9 Describe the writer’s visit to the chemist?

Ans:  The author went to the chemist’s shop and gave him the prescription. The man read it and gave it back to the author. He said that he did not have the required items. He said it might have worked if it had been a mutual aid store and a family hotel at the same time.

Q.No.10 What is the significance of the doctor’s advice:  Don’t stuff your head with the things you don’t understand?

Ans: This is an important advice. It means that we should not bother ourselves with things we do not understand. If we try to do things about which we do not have adequate knowledge, it will only result in confusion and destruction.


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