Charlie Richardson is an old man who completed his medical training at Birmingham University (UK) in 1989. Not knowing what to do he first entered post graduate training in renal medicine and then rheumatology before finally settling on gastroenterology. He completed his gastroenterology training in 2000 and thanks to a brilliant supervisor (Professor John Rhodes) managed to obtain an MD on the way. Charlie immigrated to NZ in 2002 and began work at Rotorua hospital in 2004. Charlie continues to enjoy his work but does have concerns about the direction of modern medicine and the failure of successive governments to address the issues related to an increasingly elderly and frail population. In recent years Charlie has developed an interest in the social history of medicine and disease: this presentation is a reflection of that interest.