Nicholas Goldberg: Should I call my doctor “doctor” or is that passé?
Is there a right way to address your doctor?
One thing you’ll hear over and over in health care is, ‘Do whatever works for you.’ And a lot of the time that works for you is to say, ‘Mister X, how are you today? How are you feeling?’ Or if you can’t remember your doctor’s full name, you just go, ‘Doctor X–I’m feeling fine.’ And once you get past all that, as far as the doctor is concerned, you’re like you’re a customer.
That’s because of the doctor-patient relationship. The doctor treats the patient as he or she would like to be treated. If you’re a customer in the doctor’s office you’re a customer with a bill, so the doctor is going to make sure that you’re satisfied with your service, that you’ve got a good bill, and that you’re going to make use of the services that the doctor is best qualified to give.
The doctor is also the gatekeeper to what will happen to you at the end of your treatment. Once you’ve gone in and had a treatment and it’s finished, you want to get the results that the doctor has determined that you need. Sometimes the doctor might say, ‘Okay, I’m going to take you for X-ray, and we’ll see what’s wrong with you later on. You’re going to go home, get some rest, and then you’ll come back for your follow-up X-ray.’ And sometimes it might be ‘Okay, I will order a blood test, and we’ll see what’s going on with you in two to four weeks.’ The doctor might make the ultimate diagnosis, but he takes the time to do that.
All over the world, doctors will tell you to have X-rays taken. We have X-ray machines here that they will take three, four, five–whatever number they feel like taking. Whatever the doctor feels comfortable taking and making you have, he feels comfortable with you having it done. I’ll never forget one time when I went to Los Angeles to stay with my mother for a few days; I was with