Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters “Doctor” as an anachronism

Doctor-patient hierarchy may have a therapeutic role

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: (Published 23 December 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h6906
  1. Dror Limon, physician1,
  2. Salomon M Stemmer, head2
  1. 1Rabin Medical Centre, Petah Tikva, Israel
  2. 2Research Unit, Institute of Oncology, Davidoff Centre, Rabin Medical Centre, Petah Tikva, Israel
  1. drorlimon{at}

Use of the title “Doctor” preserves hierarchy in a patient-doctor relationship.1 However, hierarchy does not necessarily mean lack of respect, and deferential status exists in the patient-doctor relationship, regardless of whether this term is used. A similar hierarchy and relationship exist when we consult a priest, imam, rabbi, or any …

View Full Text

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription