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by Joseph Heller

Doc Daneeka Timeline and Summary

  • After being released from the hospital the first time, Yossarian goes to Doc Daneeka and requests to be taken off active duty. Doc Daneeka refuses, reminding Yossarian that he must complete Cathcart's fifty missions to be discharged.
  • When Yossarian comes a second time, Doc Daneeka refuses him again, insisting that he has bigger problems to deal with than Yossarian.
  • Yossarian goes to Doc Daneeka for advice about helping Hungry Joe. Doc Daneeka is not helpful. Instead he goes on a tirade about his own troubles.
  • The Doc makes a daily trip to see his own health workers, Gus and Wes, to get his temperature taken. And it is always the same: 96.8 degrees.
  • Doc Daneeka is convinced he is sick and doubts Gus and Wes's competence. He figures they must be doing something wrong if they diagnose him with the same temperature every day. It never occurs to him that maybe he's perfectly healthy.
  • We learn that Doc Daneeka is taking advantage of Yossarian's kindness by having him enter his name on the flight log to get his pay when the Doc never actually goes flying. However, the Doc does nothing to repay Yossarian for helping him.
  • Doc Daneeka tells Yossarian all about his past. Here we go:
  • He used to have a very luxurious office (but bad practice) that he paid for with credit. Only after the war began did his business begin to grow.
  • Then he was drafted.
  • He tells Yossarian the story of a couple that came in trying to get pregnant. Doc Daneeka had the hots for the woman.. The husband boasted that he had sex with her every night, but when Doc Daneeka checked, he found the woman to still be a virgin.
  • So he showed the couple how sex worked using toy reproductive organs. The couple was fascinated. They left, promising to try it Doc Daneeka's way.
  • A few days later, the husband returned and punched the Doc in the nose with no explanation.
  • Doc Daneeka introduces Yossarian to the concept of Catch-22. He tells Yossarian that men have to be crazy to be taken off duty. But they must also request to be taken off duty. However, once they make that request, it proves that they are not mad (because they can rationally worry about their own well-being) and thus they can no longer be taken off duty.
  • Doc Daneeka writes a letter for Yossarian detailing that he should get all the fruit he wants because he has a liver condition. But Yossarian doesn't have a bad liver.
  • After Yossarian's second stay in the hospital, he approaches Doc Daneeka again, asking once more to be taken off duty. Again, the Doc refuses.
  • During Milo's bombing of Pianosa, Doc Daneeka doesn't flee, but stays and does his duty. He cares for the wounded and dying right there on the grounds, showing a surprising amount of courage and compassion.
  • He thinks Milo is wrong for bombing his own country's base.
  • After the Avignon mission, Doc Daneeka cares for Yossarian.
  • Doc Daneeka refuses to help the chaplain decrease the number of missions.
  • After Major Sandersen announces that Yossarian will be sent home he then reneges on it, saying that only A. Fortiori will be sent home. Yossarian rushes to Doc Daneeka for help.
  • Again, the Doc doesn't help him. This is the third time the Doc has refused to help Yossarian. Yossarian goes back into active duty.
  • After McWatt has accidentally killed Kid Sampson and everyone is watching his plane circle higher and higher, Sergeant Knight remarks that Doc Daneeka and several other men are on that plane with McWatt. He hopes they are OK.
  • But Doc Daneeka is not on the plane. Rather, he is on the ground right beside Sergeant Knight watching McWatt's plane with everybody else. (It is implied that Sergeant Knight read the flight log for McWatt's plane where Doc Daneeka's name was falsely entered by Yossarian.)
  • Everyone bails from the plane but McWatt and (supposedly) Doc Daneeka. McWatt runs his plane into a mountainside, and Sergeant Knight assumes that Doc Daneeka has died with McWatt.
  • When Colonel Cathcart hears about McWatt's and Doc Daneeka's deaths, he raises the number of missions to sixty-five.
  • The next day, Doc Daneeka goes to see Gus and Wes as usual and they tell him he is dead.
  • Doc Daneeka seeks help from Sergeant Knight, but that doesn't work.
  • Form letters of condolence are sent to Mrs. Daneeka telling her of her husband's demise.
  • Doc Daneeka sends a letter to his wife telling her frantically to disregard any bad news of him. He tells her he is alive and well.
  • She writes back, telling the War Department of their error and sending a letter to Doc Daneeka. The War Department never delivers her letter to Doc Daneeka.
  • Doc Daneeka is going crazy waiting for a reply from his wife.
  • He realizes as the men isolate and resent him that he is effectively dead.
  • Mrs. Daneeka receives a lot of money because of Doc Daneeka's death and revels in it. When she gets one final letter from Doc Daneeka begging her to straighten things out with Colonel Cathcart, she refuses to answer it. Instead, she takes her children and leaves. She gives no forwarding address.
  • Doc Daneeka no longer practices medicine and doesn't get paid. He blames Dr. Stubbs for his bad luck, saying that if Stubbs weren't grounding men who'd completed sixty missions, Colonel Cathcart wouldn't have turned against the flight surgeons.