Top Gun and Punk Rock in the ER

The most recent co-med-ical ‘Souffle of Awesome’ from ZDoggMD and Dr. Harry is Witch Doctor?. It’s a bombastic parody of the stereotypes of different medical specialties backed up with brilliant, and sometimes dubious, beat-boxery. They mock the adrenaline-fueled ER, sorry ED, doc who expounds about his extreme extracurricular adventures while saving a patient’s life. They even go as far as accusing ER docs of using call signs like “Maverick” and, er, “Soft Serve”…

Well, the thing about stereotypes, is that, sometimes, there is a kernel of truth somewhere in there. Let me introduce you to Exhibit A for the defence, Doctor…

deniz tek

Deniz Tek is an American-born guitarist, singer and songwriter who achieved greatest noteriety with the band Radio Birdman in the 1970s. He is considered by some as among the best rock guitarists in the world and, to quote Wikipedia, is “most known for exerting his burning Detroit style guitar influence over the punk rock genre in Australia”.

In the early 70s, Deniz studied medicine in New South Wales. He went on to practice emergency medicine and flight medicine. Although he traveled back to the States for a time, he still works as an emergency physician in Australia today.

But that wouldn’t be enough for him to have an entire LITFL blogpost dedicated to him. There’s more…

While Tek was Stateside he joined the US Marine Corps. He became a flight surgeon and flew backseat in F4 Phantoms. Rumour has it when a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters visited his squadron while doing research for a movie called ‘Top Gun’, they liked what they saw:

iceman deniz tek

Which is lucky, because without the Iceman, the ‘Top Gun’ storyline wouldn’t have made much sense…


Chris is an Intensivist and ECMO specialist at the Alfred ICU in Melbourne. He is also a Clinical Adjunct Associate Professor at Monash University. He is a co-founder of the Australia and New Zealand Clinician Educator Network (ANZCEN) and is the Lead for the ANZCEN Clinician Educator Incubator programme. He is on the Board of Directors for the Intensive Care Foundation and is a First Part Examiner for the College of Intensive Care Medicine. He is an internationally recognised Clinician Educator with a passion for helping clinicians learn and for improving the clinical performance of individuals and collectives.

After finishing his medical degree at the University of Auckland, he continued post-graduate training in New Zealand as well as Australia’s Northern Territory, Perth and Melbourne. He has completed fellowship training in both intensive care medicine and emergency medicine, as well as post-graduate training in biochemistry, clinical toxicology, clinical epidemiology, and health professional education.

He is actively involved in in using translational simulation to improve patient care and the design of processes and systems at Alfred Health. He coordinates the Alfred ICU’s education and simulation programmes and runs the unit’s education website, INTENSIVE.  He created the ‘Critically Ill Airway’ course and teaches on numerous courses around the world. He is one of the founders of the FOAM movement (Free Open-Access Medical education) and is co-creator of litfl.com, the RAGE podcast, the Resuscitology course, and the SMACC conference.

His one great achievement is being the father of three amazing children.

On Twitter, he is @precordialthump.

| INTENSIVE | RAGE | Resuscitology | SMACC

One comment

  1. Great story, thanks. My worst fear in 1980 was acquiring a brain injury in the mosh pit and waking up in Emergency to brilliant, crazed guitarist Dr Tek peering down at me…

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