A patient’s advice to hospital communicators

This is how hospital staff should treat patients.

Don’t call patients by their first names unless they ask you to do so. I can only wonder with astonishment at the insensitivity of a 25-year-old nurse calling a 70-year-old woman by her first name, especially when the patient is flat on her back, obviously in discomfort, and demonstrating every sign of waiting to die.

Surely, asking hospital doctors and nurses to give all patients the dignity of their last names preceded with the appropriate title of Mr., Mrs., or Miss is not too much to ask. Although I myself feel uncomfortable when anybody I know, even casually, Misters me, don’t expect my barber to call me by my first name, and I become annoyed to the point of distraction when the nurse in the doctor’s office does.

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