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J R Soc Med. 2006 July; 99(7): 334.
PMCID: PMC1484562

Miss, Mister, Doctor: Do surgeons wish to become doctors?

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.

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press