Doctor off base

on use of first names

I thought the Nov. 5 letter, "Calling patients by their first names protects privacy," was the newspaper's joke of the week. It is unbelievable that an educated person like the doctor who wrote the letter writer has no idea of what respect really is.

This is one of the problems of present-day America, the lack of courtesy and respect for others. I am 85 years old, served 23 years in the military, and was brought up to respect my elders and to say, "Yes, sir." "No, sir." "Yes, ma'am." And "No, ma'am." The only people I want to address me by my first name are my friends and those to whom I owe money, and the writer is neither one of these. My title is "Mister," and his title is "Doctor." I'm sure that each one of us would want to be addressed as such.

Regarding the doctor saying a patient is not a "customer," that is what I am. When I pay for services, whether medical, plumbing or electrical, I am not a friend. I am a customer. In a business, I am a customer of those who are performing services for pay, which I am sure the doctor is. I wonder if his patients call him by his first name.

GERALD C. STOVER

Egg Harbor Township

Please, doctors:

Allow me some dignity

Regarding the Nov. 5 letter from a doctor, "Calling patients by their first names protects privacy":

I am never comfortable sitting on a table wearing nothing but tissue paper and having a stranger refer to me by my first name. Allow me the dignity I have left.

The onus should be on the medical staff to ask how I prefer to be addressed without my needing to correct bad manners.

This is a day at the office for them. For me, it is often an anxiety-producing experience. And yes, I may be your patient, but I am also a customer and will not return to doctors' offices where I have felt manhandled by receptionists. They are your first and last opportunity to see to it that a negative experience is as comfortable as possible.

By the way, I just read the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, commonly known as HIPAA, and it does not address the casual use of first names, as the doctor suggested in his letter.

LaVONNE STULGAITIS

Ventnor