Instant Healthcare Reform
“Hi, Dave!” I said, shaking Dave’s hand. Dave does an uncomfortable little double-take. He always does when I call him by his first name, even though I’ve known him for years. Maybe it’s because Dave’s an orthopedist and I’m a shirtless patient in his examination room. This is my personal healthcare reform plan—I call doctors by their first names.
The plan’s been in place for several years now, and I highly recommend it. After all, you call your lawyer by her first name. Same for your accountant, stockbroker, and masseuse. They’ve all got framed degrees on their walls, too. Why must doctors be addressed by title? Personally, I find it helps break down an emotional barrier, allowing better doctor-patient communication. (i.e.: I never would’ve had the guts to give “Dr. Zuckerman” crap for keeping me waiting for over an hour. “Dave,” on the other hand, got an earful.)
You may not have the power to reform our healthcare system, but you can do this one little thing to improve it. At the very least, I guarantee it will make you feel better—and I won’t even send you a bill. Trust me, the good physicians won’t mind a bit. It’s the ones whose egos are fed by the omnipotent-sounding title that will react like you’ve just said something terribly offensive. Like, “I can’t afford to pay you.”