Intended for healthcare professionals

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Letters Manners in medicine

What’s in a name?

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 15 July 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a687

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Author's reply

Dear Dr Davis (I assume you are male?)- in response to your question, in Germany the marital status of a woman is no longer indicated by her title! The convention nowadays is to address all women as "Frau". Perhaps this is why, having an ambiguous first name, I don't have a problem with the title "Ms" to indicate my being female. Also, because the title "Doctor" gives no indication of gender, in Germany a doctor is addressed as either Herr or Frau Doctor, followed by their surname.

In response to your other question, re what to do with
all the Mr Joneses who stand up in the waiting room when called, I suggest
you call out a patient's first and last name initially and then, at the
beginning of the consultation, establish their preferred form of address
as well as check correct pronounciations (of unfamiliar names).

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

22 July 2008
Anke Medrington (Ms)
Interpreter & Translator
Stockport SK4