An esteemed doctor of Britain’s House of Lords admitted to inventing a false medical condition 34 years ago as a prank and submitting it to the British Medical Journal, Agence France-Presse reported Monday.
Elaine Murphy, now a Baroness, along with John Murphy, pulled the prank in May 1974 by sending a letter to the journal, which does publish medical correspondence about odd or unusual cases.
The letter detailed a condition called “guitar nipple.” The couple described three young classical-guitarists who had inflamed nipples because the edge of the guitar was consistently pressed against their chests.
In order to take the prank one step further, the Elaine and John Murphy submitted “a similar phenomenon in cellists,” they admitted in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal.
“Anyone who has ever watched a cello being played would realize the physical impossibility of our claim,” the Murphy’s said. “Somewhat to our astonishment, the letter was published.”
The letter was purposely signed only by John Murphy, the Baroness’ husband at the time, as he was not a doctor. Elaine Murphy is a former professor at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, England and a member of an oversight board of Britain’s National Health Service. She is active on mental health and aging issues in the House of Lords.
John Murphy is a chairman of a brewery in Suffolk County, England.
Last month, “guitar nipple” was dubbed “cello scrotum” in a reference paper about music-related disorders, so the Murphy’s decided it was time to come clean.
The Journal has dubbed the scandal “Scrotumgate.”