We are regaled with yet another ‘survey’, bringing us conclusions that we all know and have learnt by heart already. ‘Dignity’ is the new watchword, and apparently woe betide any nurse, assistant or doctor who does not treat a patient with courtesy and consideration! Yawn, blah, blah, heard-it-all-before!
As I myself was ushered into hospital in Newcastle, I was asked “How did I expect to be addressed? Was it to be ‘Mike’, or ‘Michael”?
My name, which was solemnly written in black marker above my bed, was of course ‘Mr. Cunningham’. I believe that I was the only patient in that entire 1500-bed hospital to ask to be addressed by his surname. You might ask why? I do not grab at Christian names of people whom I have just met, I do not know them. At that stage, I don’t know if I wish to know them; so they remain as Mr. XXXX, or Mrs. ZZZZ; or by their title, until such time as we mutually agree that we have known each other long enough to dispense with the formality, and address one another by our given Christian names.
Informality breeds, as far as I am concerned, contempt; and a too easy leap into informality leads to a destruction of the necessary gap between those who work in a hospital, and those who have to be there because they are ill!
I am a person, with a name and an individuality given me by my Creator, and I will never, ever, call some snotty-nosed git ‘Robin’ because he wishes to be ‘comfortable’ when talking with me! Neither will I ever let him, or any other complete stranger, call me anything else but Mr. Cunningham until I specifically permit them to do so!