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Soon after my appointment to a consultant post in Liverpool I made a domicilliary visit to a lady who addressed me as Mister. I took it upon myself to give her a short homily as to why I should be addressed as Doctor, pointing out that only surgeons, who were really trumped up barbers, assumed the title Mister on gaining their surgical qualification. Furthermore, I added that the medical or physicians' qualification went back over 2000 years and that the Hypocratic oath forbade us from cutting ‘even for the stone’.
I was rather proud of myself for such a clear didactic account of how we physicinas should be addressed until her daughter came into the room.
‘Let me introduce you to Dr Davies,’ said my patient, ‘he's not a Mr yet.’
Since then I have been content with any title my patients may wish to confer on me.
Competing interests None declared.