I went to see my doctor last week. I am 67 years old, CEO of a company and a father of four. A young woman walked into the waiting room and said, "Marc, let me get your weight before you see the doctor."
I said, "With all due respect, do you mind if I ask you several questions?" I asked if she met a young man in his 20s, and she went to his house and met his father, what would she say? She replied, "I would say 'Hi, Mr. Thompson. It's nice to meet you.'" I then said, "If you happened to see your boyfriend's father in the mall shopping, how would you greet him?" She said, "I would probably say, 'Hi Mr. Thompson. Remember me? We met last week when I came over to the house with your son.'" Finally I asked her how she would greet me if she walked into her local bank and saw that I was the manager. She responded, "I would say 'Hi, Mr. Rosenberg. I didn't know you were the manager at my bank.'"
I then asked why she was comfortable addressing a person 40 years her senior whom she has never met by his first name? Her response was, "I never really thought about it. That is just what I hear the rest of the staff doing."
Just an alert to health care professionals and their staffs. Patients are not friends and rarely even acquaintances. They are very unique customers. It would be presumptuous for the patient to address the doctor by his or her first name, but for some reason the patient doesn't warrant the same courtesy.
My 93-year-old mother once asked me why these 19-year-old nursing aides felt comfortable addressing her as Bea instead of Mrs. Rosenberg. She said it must be a 21st century thing. I said, "Mom, it's not a 21st century thing. It's just thoughtless and disrespectful." I say this of course with all due respect.
MARC A. ROSENBERG