Medical marriages

BMJ 1994; 309 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.309.6970.1673 (Published 24 December 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;309:1673
  1. Claire Beiser,
  2. John Roberts
  1. Claire Beiser Assistant professor Department of Medicine, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD 21201-1595, USA
  2. John Roberts North American editor, BMJ Baltimore, MD 21218-2804, USA

    To succeed they require organisation, flexibility, an enlightened view of gender roles, and trust

    Of the typical medical marriage Sir William Osler said: “What about the wife and babies if you have them? Leave them! Heavy are the responsibilities to yourself, to the profession and to the public.”1 A century has passed since Osler's words, and even he would have to admit that in 1994 there is no such thing as “a typical marriage,” particularly for dual doctor marriages, which he would have found inconceivable.

    In the United States the ranks of young women entering medical school have exploded: from 9% in 1970 to 42% in 1992. In Britain the proportion is now 52%.2 Some prestigious medical schools, including Osler's own Johns Hopkins, now enrol more women than men. In the United States about half of women doctors marry other doctors.3 In a few years half of all doctors will therefore be married to doctors.4 Clearly, this is not Osler's “typical marriage.”

    There are real pluses for the dual doctor couple. Doctors married to other doctors seem more likely …

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