A young boy is taking a ride with his dad when a truck runs them off the road, killing the father and critically injuring the young boy. He's Medivac'd to the nearest hospital as the child is lying on the table ready for operation, the surgeon looks at the boy and says "I cannot operate on him, he's my son.

How is this possible?


The classic answer is "The surgeon is his mother".

Another possible answers:

  1. It is another father of him. Gays are real.:)
  2. It is step-father. No one would care to chose precise words in such situation.
  • $\begingroup$ Yes the idea of the puzzle is to get us to look past our preconceptions on who might be a doctor or who a parent of a child can be. $\endgroup$ Oct 3 '14 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ If we expand the definition of "son", we might also have that the surgeon might be, say, a mafia leader, and the boy who is operated on is one of his subordinates. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Oct 6 '14 at 17:30
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    $\begingroup$ upvoted for the other options, particularly number 2 :) $\endgroup$
    – dsollen
    Oct 7 '14 at 20:04
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    $\begingroup$ @Mike: Have you told the gender-flipped version of this puzzle? It is nearly certain that simply seeing the terms "father" and "surgeon" juxtaposed creates an association between them; without actually doing a fair study of this, I think it is to much to presume this says things about our preconceptions. $\endgroup$
    – user1502
    Apr 4 '15 at 4:28

A far-fetched solution

Consider this : Twins are born (lets say two boys A and B) - biological parents die - ends up in foster care - then each are adopted separately.

Lets say their worlds never collided until that fateful day of the accident. 'A' was with his father in the car and lets say this accident took place at 'X'. Now 'B' had told his parents that day before leaving home that he had some work around the place of 'X'. So when 'B' father/mother who is a surgeon sees the body of 'A' then naturally he/she could say those lines.

Maybe there are some loopholes in this story but still its possible right.

Also it just so happens that 'A' and 'B' were wearing the same exact dress that day :)

  • $\begingroup$ "Also it just so happens that 'A' and 'B' were wearing the same exact dress that day" is probably unnecessary, his outer clothing may have already been removed in preparation for surgery. $\endgroup$
    – Tim S.
    Oct 3 '14 at 17:52

(young boy's age) and 9 months ago, his mother slept with twins. Afterwards they couldn't figure out who is the father by DNA tests, so they both are now. :P

Btw, in some other language the solution "it's his mother" doesn't work, because you would use the female version of the word doctor.


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