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.



, (developed for television by)


Airs Tue. Aug. 29, 6:00 PM on TVLAND



Episode cast overview:
Colonel Lacy
Private North


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?


Interestingly enough, in this episode, Hawkeye taints a Colonel's drink to have him develop pains that he blames on appendicitis. This is actually not the first time Hawkeye has ever done this. In the season 3 episode "White Gold", fed up with Colonel Flagg harassing the camp with an investigation into penicillin theft, Both Hawkeye and Trapper gleefully fake the very same symptoms and perform an appendectomy on Flagg. It's even hinted slightly that they had approval from their commanding officer, Colonel Henry Blake, to make it so Flagg leaves them alone "indefinitely". Not one of them ever gives a single mention to this obvious betrayal of the Hippocratic oath, which B.J. stands firm against in this latter episode. Quite the contrary, The whole issue is treated as a joke in "White Gold". 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 »


[Hawkeye comes back to The Swamp, having removed Lacy's appendix]
Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt: So...
Capt. Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce: It was pink and perfect and I tossed it in the scrap bucket. At least he won't be sending us any customers for a while.
Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt: Uh oh. Radar was just in here. In about ten minutes they're sending us a batch of wounded.
Capt. Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce: Ten minutes?
P.A. Announcer: Attention. Attention. All Personnel.
Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt: Time flies.
P.A. Announcer: Sorry folks, triage in the compound. Looks kinda heavy.
Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt: You treated a symptom, the disease goes merrily on.
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References Heroes of the Alamo (1937) See more »


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