Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Name Parity

Medical offices are a problem for me. I believe in name parity. Any medical personnel who address me by my first name had better tell me his or her first name, pronto. I am not comfortable being address by my first name by somebody younger than my youngest child, and then being expected to call this youngster by the title Dr. _________ or Ms. ________.

It’s as if this medical person is trying to declare a power position by addressing me as if I was a child, and then demanding to be addressed as an adult.

I recently discovered that my insurance will subsidize the cost of a massage if I get one in a chiropractor’s office. When I showed up for the appointment, I was handed a stack of forms to fill out. Diagrams to show where I hurt, lists of diseases I might have, and the question: How would you like to be addressed? I thought that was a nice touch.

Since I knew that the massage therapist prefers to be addressed by her first name, I wrote my first name on the form.

Then the chiropractor came out and addressed me by my first name and introduced himself as Dr. _______.

Unfair! I had filled out that form under false pretenses.

I suggest that name parity be the default. If I want to be called Ms. _________, then I should address the other person as Ms. __________ or Dr. __________ or Mr. ____________. And if the other person wants to be addressed by a title, then s/he should address me with a title.

It’s hard enough to ask for medical help without having to deal with a sophisticated version of name-calling. Name parity is a fair solution.

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