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Patients and the Habits of House Officers

Richard D. Adelman, MD
JAMA. 1987;257(15):2031-2032. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390150047015.
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To the Editor.—  In the Jan 2,1987, issue of JAMA, the authors of the article entitled "Patient and House Officer Attitudes on Physician Attire and Etiquette" interviewed 200 patients on the general medical services of teaching hospitals, asking by what name they wished to be addressed by their physician. Of these 200, only 36 (18%) wished to be called by their family name. In spite of this low percentage and the statement by the authors that distance is placed when last names are used, the authors concluded that, "since a sizable portion of our patient population would be offended by being addressed by their first names, the more formal approach would thus seem advisable unless the patient specifically requests otherwise."In a recent survey,2I reviewed name preference in the family practice setting in 3000 patients. Of the 3000 patients, 63% stated they wished to be addressed by their


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