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03:58 pm: old-fashioned manners
I went to see a new medical specialist this morning.

Office Manager: And what's your primary care doctor's name?
Adrian: Doctor [name]. It's spelled [...]
Office Manager: Do you know his first name?
Adrian: Of course. It's Deborah.

The office manager was seriously flustered by her mistake. I'm wondering how, in 2013, she might have made it. It's not like it's UNUSUAL for a family practitioner to be a woman. What surprised me even more was her thinking that I might not have known my doctor's first name.

A long time ago, when I lived in Michigan, my doctor was Dr. Bernstein. He shared an office with Dr. Blum, and I went on seeing Dr. Blum after Dr. Bernstein retired. I think I had some abstract awareness that they must have first names, but I had no idea what they might be.

Is this a difference between the 1970s and now? Or between how children and adults interact with their doctors? Or is it not perfectly routine to know the first name of one's primary doctor?

This entry was originally posted at http://adrian-turtle.dreamwidth.org/15645.html. Please comment there using OpenID, or here as usual.

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[User Picture]
From:ckd
Date:August 20th, 2013 08:44 pm (UTC)
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Well, if it's the FP doctor I suspect it is (namely mine ;-), I can understand why there might have been some confusion.

When I started seeing that doctor, their first name was Roy.
[User Picture]
From:adrian_turtle
Date:August 21st, 2013 02:11 pm (UTC)
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It is indeed that doctor who used to go by Roy. I don't believe the name change could be responsible for the mistake, as she changed her surname at the same time as her first name. (And, I think that was at least two changes of electronic medical records systems ago.) The doctor I saw yesterday was at Mass Eye and Ear, so I didn't expect the office manager to know my PCP personally, but to be thinking in terms of "some general practitioner in Somerville, whatever the name is."
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From:mrissa
Date:August 20th, 2013 10:06 pm (UTC)
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I have always known the first names of my doctors. I don't remember my first pediatrician, but I know that her name was Joy; whenever it came up in conversation with other parents or whatever, she would say something like, "We used to see Joy X, and now we see Meera Y." It might well have shifted by the '80s when I was a child. I don't know.

On the other hand, my parents' pastor in Omaha commented more than once on how good it was to hang out with some people who did not think his first name was Pastor. So I suspect for some people there is a comfort in maintaining that sort of title.
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From:ladymondegreen
Date:August 21st, 2013 03:44 pm (UTC)
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I knew my doctors' first names when I was a kid, but I was also in the somewhat unusual situation of having most of those doctors be members of our congregation. The one who wasn't, my pediatrician, was also the next-door neighbor of a classmate, so I had duel contexts for most of my medical care professionals.
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