M*A*S*H (1972–1983)
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Preventative Medicine 

Hawkeye performs a shocking and sinister stunt to keep a war-obsessed colonel from sending more young victims to a possible early grave, while Klinger tries to use voodoo on Potter to get a discharge.



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Episode cast overview:
Colonel Lacy
Private North
Jeff Maxwell ...


BJ is appalled when his patient has entry wounds entering his body from 3 different directions. Col. Potter reminds him of Lt. Col. Lacy, 163rd Combat Infantry, the CO with the highest casualty rate of any single battalion in the sector. Apparently, Lacy refused to obey an order to retreat and subjected his men to hell. Poor Klinger: he has tried chicanery, malingering and endless flim-flammery, but now, Klinger is pulling out the heavy artillery, voodoo, to get his Section 8. Lacy visits the Post Op and one of his own men, Corporal North, turns away. Margaret is intrigued with the virile Lacy until she lunches with him and Lacy tells Margaret of his latest plan to take Hill 403. His plan is based on a plan used in the WWII Battle of Monte Casino...and it has a 20-30% casualty rate. Margaret understands this translates to 100 men and she leaves the table, sick. BJ and Hawkeye despise Lacy and his hypocracy; he thrives on his war games. Potter writes an unprecedented letter to I Corp ... Written by LA-Lawyer

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama | War

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

19 February 1979 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Originally, the story was to have Hawkeye and BJ being equally eager to perform the medically needless appendectomy to put the warmongering colonel out of action. However, Mike Farrell objected to this plot development on the basis that it was an act of mutilation and is never justifiable. While Alan Alda was equally adamant that it was appropriate for the sake of the lives of the soldiers the colonel was about to manipulate into battle, despite that colonel being clearly ordered to keep out of needless combat. The resulting argument between the actors was incorporated into the revised script which also has BJ refuse to cooperate with Hawkeye's surgery. See more »


In "Change of Command" when Potter first arrives, he tells Radar that he was 15 years old when he joined the army during World War 1. In this episode he tells Colonel Lacy that he's been in this man's army for 30 odd years. This would mean Potter is 45 years old. But he should be in his 60s. In Pressure Points, he tells Sidney that he's 62. But even that does not work. If he was 62 in 1952, this means he was born in 1890. That means he was much older than 15 during WWI. See more »


References The Rider of Death Valley (1932) See more »


Ain't We Got Fun?
Music by Richard A. Whiting
Lyrics by Ray Egan and Gus Kahn
Performed by Alan Alda
See more »

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User Reviews

Medical Ethics
11 April 2015 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is a very memorable episode. It starts with the usual operating room banter. The conversation eventually gets around to a certain Colonel Lacey. He has the highest casualty rate of any commander in Korea. As they are looking after the wounded in the recovery area, who should show up but Lacey himself. He is a big, handsome, walking model for a soldier with absolutely no conscience. He has no qualms about giving up a third of his men to take hill. His own soldiers can't stand the sight of him and one tells Hawkeye about it. The guys (including Colonel Potter) do what they can to diminish his role, but he doesn't listen a bit. Then Hawkeye has a solution which smacks at the height of medical malfeasance. The question, in this episode, is what extremes can one go to to protect the lives of soldiers.

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