Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => All In A Day's Work => Topic started by: MissBrit on April 02, 2011, 06:01:02 PM

Title: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: MissBrit on April 02, 2011, 06:01:02 PM
In the doctor's office I work in we have 3 Doctors and 2 Physician's Assistants (PA's) a male and a female. The male PA that we have is in his late thirties, blond haired, blue eyed, and looks a bit younger than his age. He is a very capable PA and also a really nice guy. Occasionally, patients will call in and say something to the effect of, "I saw this doctor there last week and I can't remember his name but he reminded me of Doogie Howser." (For those of you not familiar, Doogie Howser MD was a TV series in the late 80's about a very capable doctor who also happened to be a child played by Neil Patrick Harris).
I always find the reference to Doogie Howser to be amusing (especially because I had the same thought when I first met him because he reminded me of Neil Patrick Harris) and have shared a laugh a couple of times with patients over this, however, a coworker of mine disagrees with this. She thinks it's incredibly rude to refer to the PA as Doogie Howser. She believes that it implies that he is too young and incapable of doing his job. I sort of find that odd because Doogie Howser was very capable. I would like to point out that I have never called him Doogie Howser to his face and all the references I have heard were meant in jest not spite. I honestly don't know exactly how the PA feels about the reference because he is generally a very quiet man although he is aware that people have made the reference.
So my question to you, e-hellions, is it rude to refer to a doctor or PA as Doogie Howser? And if so, how do I correct patients when they do? If not, how do I deal with my co-worker if she comments when I reference it?
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Animala on April 02, 2011, 06:08:28 PM
I think it depends on how they say it, but I don't think just referring to him as Doogie Howser is insulting.  Why would it matter to her?  I think he is probably the ultimately up to the PA.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: DottyG on April 02, 2011, 06:22:57 PM
My reaction would have to be a "::)" at her.

Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: JoyinVirginia on April 02, 2011, 06:32:39 PM
I work in a facility where we have frequent contact with medical students, nursing students, NP students - all kinds of students. Staff members, including me, all say things like "the new med students look like Doogie Houser's younger brother". Yes, we laugh. The students laugh too, and if they are sensitive they had best get over it, because the elderly patients will remind them of their youthful appearance over and over. It is not disrespectful, it just comes with the territory.
Now if a patient says "he reminds me of Doogie Houser", you could reply "don't you mean Doogie Houser's older more handsome brother?"
I suggest you ask the PA if he is bothered when patients can't remember his name and call him Doogie Houser instead. He might have some interesting stories to tell.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Brentwood on April 02, 2011, 06:56:07 PM
I think it's not nice to poke fun at someone over his age (or his perceived age), and I can imagine it might get very old to hear Doogie Howser jokes constantly (especially if the person saying it appears to think he or she is the first), but that doesn't mean it's automatically rude to make a Doogie Howser reference. It depends on how it's done, I suppose.

BTW, for people like me, the Doogie Howser reference is almost an automatic connection, because people my age are suddenly being confronted with doctors who are younger - in some cases quite a bit younger - than themselves, and it's a bit of cognitive dissonance at first.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Texas Mom on April 02, 2011, 09:06:37 PM
I agree with your co-worker.  No disrespect is intended, but you shouldn't be laughing - it's ok to smile, though.

When people say,
"I saw this doctor there last week and I can't remember his name but he reminded me of Doogie Howser," 
your response should be:
"You must have seen Mr. Joe Jones, one of our PAs."  Then find out what the caller needs.......
Tell the patients his name, so they can put the correct name with his face instead of having to rely on TV references.



My DH looks like Larry Hagman. We've been stalked more times than I care to remember on vacation because people were SURE they had spotted Larry Hagman.
People call his office and ask for "JR" when they can't remember his name.   They are told DH's name by reception and most people don't have to be told again.   
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: mimi_cat on April 02, 2011, 09:09:43 PM
I think if people were following up their Doogie Howser statement w/a request to not see him again because he was too young or otherwise questioning his capabilities, yes, that would be rude.

Otherwise, I think it's fine.  And when he's a decade or so older I'm sure he'll think fondly of when he was mistaken for a 13 year old doctor.  :O
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Master_Edward on April 03, 2011, 12:34:03 AM
Of course Doogie Howser was quite capable he had a genius IQ! ;D

I don't think it's that big of a deal. If the male physician's assistant has got a problem with people referring to him as Doogie Howser or making jokes about how young he looks then he needs to speak up about it. I don't think it's all that rude but maybe you can ease off on the Doogie Howser comments some (just not do it so much) in case the PA doesn't like them.

Ed.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: ClaireC79 on April 03, 2011, 04:18:03 AM
I'd just give them his real name.

I remember as a student midwife one doctor coming in and introducing himself as Firstname Lastname (in the uk surgeons don't use Dr) when he left the room the woman asked me when he was due to finish medical school - I pointed out h was the consultant, quite a lot of the 'proper' obstetricians seem to use Firstname Lastname rather than Mr/Mrs/Ms/Dr Lastname (by 'proper' I mean although they are obstetricians and gynaecologists they prefer the obstetrics compared to the 'proper' gynaecologists who are also obs and gynae)
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Kaylee on April 03, 2011, 04:25:22 AM
OB/GYN is a surgical specialty, so I imagine UK OB/GYNs follow the surgeon's mode of address.

Speaking as someone who's only a few years removed from medical school, the Doogie Howser thing is engrained.  I hear it all the time, and we're getting to the point where I figure the new med students won't understand the reference any day now.  Little whippersnappers!   >:(

I don't think it's meant rudely as long as it's just used as a descriptor.  If someone was continually calling him that to tease him, then yes, it would be both annoying and rude.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: guihong on April 03, 2011, 05:21:03 AM
We have a family doctor who treats cuts, bites, general illnesses (I think he's a general practicioner, in fact).  In private, he's always been "Doc in a Box",not about his age but his office, in a nondescript square building.   I'd never call him that in person, but I'm always afraid I'll do it by accident  :-[.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Carnation on April 03, 2011, 08:07:59 AM
I agree with your co-worker.  No disrespect is intended, but you shouldn't be laughing - it's ok to smile, though.

When people say,
"I saw this doctor there last week and I can't remember his name but he reminded me of Doogie Howser," 
your response should be:
"You must have seen Mr. Joe Jones, one of our PAs."  Then find out what the caller needs.......
Tell the patients his name, so they can put the correct name with his face instead of having to rely on TV references.



My DH looks like Larry Hagman. We've been stalked more times than I care to remember on vacation because people were SURE they had spotted Larry Hagman.
People call his office and ask for "JR" when they can't remember his name.   They are told DH's name by reception and most people don't have to be told again.   

We had the "Kenny Rogers bus driver" in our town.  Looked just like him.



Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: grannyclampettjr on April 03, 2011, 09:21:50 AM
I'm 40 in 2 months and look about 25.  I'm still waiting to be glad I look young.  It's *not a compliment* in any way, shape or form to have your life experience dismissed on a daily basis.  I'm currently working a crap job because of the economy and I detest being told to be glad that I have my whole life ahead of me.  Because, no, no I don't.  I've taken a hard fall like everybody else. I used to own a house.  I've been married and divorced.  I've made good money in the past, and now--not so much.  I detest being told that I'll understand when I'm older.  I detest having a customer make a reference to the 70's or 80's to try to one up me. (It happens on an alarmingly regular basis.)  Out of deference to my boss I rarely correct, and when I do it's a breezy "Oh, I was born in 71" or "I graduated in 89".  Or telling the one-upper exactly how old I was when, say John Lennon was shot or the Challenger blew up, if that's the topic.  I also hate being kidded about "you young kids with your texting and can't put your cel phone down."   See, I hate texting.  I hate the illiteracy that has come with texting.   Most of all, I hate, and am very saddened by the fact that many, many, people seem to go out of their way to put others down on the basis of age or percieved age.

I don't mean to rant, just to put in your head how frustrating this issue can be.  The best thing you can do for your co-worker is to counter the "friendly" remarks (because sometimes these people are bitter about aging and need to take it out on the young and percieved young) with an assurance about his actual age and experience.  You'll be doing everybody who is talked down to because of their appearance a great favor, because if *we* correct, we run the risk of looking defensive.  Maybe an "Actually he's the same age!!!  Can you believe Doogie Howser has been off the air for 20 years now?" would get the point across.


Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Twik on April 03, 2011, 12:45:22 PM
Could be worse.

In my home town, there was a Dr. Harry Callaghan. "Dirty Harry" to the younger physicians.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Carnation on April 03, 2011, 04:16:37 PM
How come they don't call older doctors "Marcus Welby"?
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: rose red on April 03, 2011, 05:04:24 PM
Since they don't remember his name, I guess they're just trying to describe him the best way they can.  You can correct them by saying something like "I believe you are wanting to speak with Dr. John Jones."

As for your queston, I don't think it's rude to laugh kindly about the doctor looking like Doogie Howser, but it might be rude to keep referring him that way once the patient is corrected with his real name.  I don't think it's nice or respectful to keep saying "I want an appointment with Doogie" once they know his name, KWIM?
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Wonderflonium on April 03, 2011, 05:21:50 PM
I'm 40 in 2 months and look about 25.  I'm still waiting to be glad I look young.  It's *not a compliment* in any way, shape or form to have your life experience dismissed on a daily basis.  I'm currently working a crap job because of the economy and I detest being told to be glad that I have my whole life ahead of me.  Because, no, no I don't.  I've taken a hard fall like everybody else. I used to own a house.  I've been married and divorced.  I've made good money in the past, and now--not so much.  I detest being told that I'll understand when I'm older.  I detest having a customer make a reference to the 70's or 80's to try to one up me. (It happens on an alarmingly regular basis.)  Out of deference to my boss I rarely correct, and when I do it's a breezy "Oh, I was born in 71" or "I graduated in 89".  Or telling the one-upper exactly how old I was when, say John Lennon was shot or the Challenger blew up, if that's the topic.  I also hate being kidded about "you young kids with your texting and can't put your cel phone down."   See, I hate texting.  I hate the illiteracy that has come with texting.   Most of all, I hate, and am very saddened by the fact that many, many, people seem to go out of their way to put others down on the basis of age or percieved age.

I don't mean to rant, just to put in your head how frustrating this issue can be.  The best thing you can do for your co-worker is to counter the "friendly" remarks (because sometimes these people are bitter about aging and need to take it out on the young and percieved young) with an assurance about his actual age and experience.  You'll be doing everybody who is talked down to because of their appearance a great favor, because if *we* correct, we run the risk of looking defensive.  Maybe an "Actually he's the same age!!!  Can you believe Doogie Howser has been off the air for 20 years now?" would get the point across.

People aren't dismissing your life experience; they simply don't know it's there. And most of the comments to which you refer would be rude even if you were 25, so it's not about looking young, it's about people being social backward.

I for one was floating on air when someone told me they thought I was the same age as my cousin, who is 8 years younger.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: MissBrit on April 03, 2011, 05:42:18 PM
I can say that every patient that I have encountered who referenced Doogie Howser in regards to this PA did not do it to be mean or dismissive of his abilities. You would be surprised at the number of people who simply don't remember which doctor they saw. I always say when told, "I saw this doctor there yesterday and he reminded me of Doogie Howser" "Oh *chuckle* you mean PA's name? Yeah he does, doesn't he?" Also, it's not like this gets referenced every day multiple times a day. In the last week I think I heard the reference once, just to give you an idea.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Balletmom on April 03, 2011, 07:20:41 PM
I can say that every patient that I have encountered who referenced Doogie Howser in regards to this PA did not do it to be mean or dismissive of his abilities. You would be surprised at the number of people who simply don't remember which doctor they saw. I always say when told, "I saw this doctor there yesterday and he reminded me of Doogie Howser" "Oh *chuckle* you mean PA's name? Yeah he does, doesn't he?" Also, it's not like this gets referenced every day multiple times a day. In the last week I think I heard the reference once, just to give you an idea.

I don't think it's rude at all how you respond when they ask for Doogie Howser. If it was me, I'd feel like you were just being kind and not making me feel stupid for not remembering the PA's name.

And it is certainly a valid point that the older you get, the odder it feels to have your doctors get younger. I remember how weird it felt to realize that I went to high school at the same time as some of my doctors (Hey! You got into MED SCHOOL?) and I've had a couple of doctors since that made me wonder if their mothers knew they were practicing medicine after dark. (They looked really, really young for their ages.)

I get a lot of comments about looking younger than I am. I have no problem taking them as a compliment.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Clara Bow on April 04, 2011, 09:13:56 AM
I can't really weigh in here...I've already had a couple patients call me "Nurse Ratchet".....
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Outdoor Girl on April 04, 2011, 09:27:01 AM
I can't really weigh in here...I've already had a couple patients call me "Nurse Ratchet".....

LOL - that means you're doing a good job!
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Clara Bow on April 04, 2011, 10:49:49 AM
I can't really weigh in here...I've already had a couple patients call me "Nurse Ratchet".....

LOL - that means you're doing a good job!

One patient was kidding, one was serious, both were dealing with me enforcing orders they didn't like....:)
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Precarious Armada on April 04, 2011, 12:01:48 PM
I think she's overreacting a bit. Maybe ask the PA how he feels about it?
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Oxymoroness on April 04, 2011, 12:14:56 PM
I can't really weigh in here...I've already had a couple patients call me "Nurse Ratchet".....

LOL - that means you're doing a good job!

One patient was kidding, one was serious, both were dealing with me enforcing orders they didn't like....:)


Personally, I would study the movie just so I could quote them a line from it back.  ;D
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: magician5 on April 04, 2011, 02:37:30 PM
You won't stop these references ... what is your co-worker going to do, "tell off" the people that talk about Doogie?

Perhaps the young doctor could reassure her that he doesn't mind (if, indeed, he doesn't).
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Clara Bow on April 05, 2011, 12:46:08 AM
I think she's overreacting a bit. Maybe ask the PA how he feels about it?


I agree...if the PA thinks it's a solid funny I say go with it. There are a few comments/jokes/etc that people make about all of us that the outside observer would think cruel that we think are pretty funny ourselves.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Virg on April 05, 2011, 01:20:06 AM
If he looks or sounds like Neil Patrick Harris, it might not be an age reference at all.  Something to consider.

Virg
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: JonGirl on April 05, 2011, 05:30:58 AM
How come they don't call older doctors "Marcus Welby"?

Or Dr Kildare?
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: WillyNilly on April 05, 2011, 09:27:20 AM
I don't think its rude of the patients to refer to the PA as Doogie Howser, but I do think its rude for you to run with it.  Doogie Howser might have been a capable physician but he was a bonafide child.  That was the point of the show, that he was a teenager, not just a young guy, but a guy who hadn't finished puberty.

I think a smile and a friendly "oh you must mean John Smith our physicians assistant" is the polite, and quite honestly professional, response.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Brentwood on April 05, 2011, 10:54:59 PM
How come they don't call older doctors "Marcus Welby"?

Or Dr Kildare?

Dr. Kildare wasn't old.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: JonGirl on April 06, 2011, 06:41:50 AM
How come they don't call older doctors "Marcus Welby"?

Or Dr Kildare?

Dr. Kildare wasn't old.

He was to me. I wasn't even born when they made that show!
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Brentwood on April 06, 2011, 10:50:07 AM
How come they don't call older doctors "Marcus Welby"?

Or Dr Kildare?

Dr. Kildare wasn't old.

He was to me. I wasn't even born when they made that show!

Well, lots of people weren't born yet when Doogie Howser was made either, and Neil Patrick Harris might be old to them now. The character of Dr. Kildare was young. :)
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Sabbyfrog2 on April 06, 2011, 11:03:47 AM

Well, lots of people weren't born yet when Doogie Howser was made either, and Neil Patrick Harris might be old to them now.

NPH will never be old! NEVER!

sorry... back to your regularly scheduled thread...


Personally, I think the way you handle it is fine as long as you remind the patient of his real name in a casual non accusatory way. I think just ask the doctor himself how he would like you to handle these comments if your worried about it though OP. Let him know that they comments aren't meant to be insulting but you still wanted to check with him and make sure he wasn't bothered by it in the interest of keeping your working relationship solid.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: nisajoy on April 06, 2011, 11:53:59 AM
My father is a physician. When he was in private practice he always dressed in khakis and a button down shirt ( sometimes a short sleeved shirt in summer). Many times older patients would look him over and say " you don't look like a doctor." His response was " it's ok, I don't have to, I am one." He always said it with a smile and I think that most people were then at ease. I think the issue is that a lot of people have certain expectations about how medical professionals " should " look.  My mother was an RN back in the day and wore a starched cap with black stripes and a white -pressed to the point of standing on its own- uniform. She NEVER wore it outside of the hospital and she LOATHES how "everyone" wears scrubs now. (Her theory is you can't tell who is a doctor and who is bringing you lunch, but I digress).

I think that as long as you follow up with oh that's " Mr Smith, one of our fine PAs" it's fine. I don't think that I would in anyway encourage it but there is no need to make a patient feel badly for saying it.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Winterlight on April 06, 2011, 01:30:35 PM
I can say that every patient that I have encountered who referenced Doogie Howser in regards to this PA did not do it to be mean or dismissive of his abilities. You would be surprised at the number of people who simply don't remember which doctor they saw. I always say when told, "I saw this doctor there yesterday and he reminded me of Doogie Howser" "Oh *chuckle* you mean PA's name? Yeah he does, doesn't he?" Also, it's not like this gets referenced every day multiple times a day. In the last week I think I heard the reference once, just to give you an idea.

When I switched doctors recently I couldn't remember the new one's name and ended up saying, "She has lovely blond hair." The receptionist knew exactly who I meant, and agreed. ;D
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Balletmom on April 06, 2011, 08:42:35 PM

NPH will never be old! NEVER!

sorry... back to your regularly scheduled thread...id.

Poor dude will be 90 years old and look like a 70 y/o elf.

I think that the whole Doogie Howser thing is a bit of a compliment; you're admitting that this is someone whose job skills experience and ability are out of sync with his/her age.

That's a compliment for most of us.

Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: rosiegirl on April 08, 2011, 11:28:56 PM
Instead they could be asking for Barney Stinson which would just create more problems!  Legendary!
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: oogyda on April 10, 2011, 07:58:44 AM
I agree with your co-worker. 

If you wouldn't say this to his face, it's rude to be joking about it behind his back.
Title: Re: Doogie Howser MD
Post by: Sharnita on April 10, 2011, 08:10:59 AM
I agree with your co-worker. 

If you wouldn't say this to his face, it's rude to be joking about it behind his back.

I agree.