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Communication and courtesy between medical professionals

Max Kamien
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (11): 629.
Published online: 5 December 2005

The golden rule is to treat your fellow medicos as you would wish to be treated

When I was a medical student in the 1950s, we learned about medical etiquette, which our teachers then confused with medical ethics. There were rules governing the relationships between doctors, especially about “pinching” each other’s patients. And consultants were supposed to meet the patient and his or her general practitioner and give an opinion, not take over the patient. Being asked to treat a colleague, or a member of their family, was regarded as the ultimate professional accolade, and charging a fee was not an option. The same principles applied to nurses, medical students and clergy.

  • Max Kamien

  • University of Western Australia, Perth, WA.

Correspondence: 

Competing interests:

I have never experienced anything but help from my radiological colleagues. The closest I ever came to discourtesy was waiting 3 hours for a computed tomography scan after falling from my bicycle. I asked the receptionist when the booked scan might be available. She replied, “A CAT scan is not a happy snappy, Chappie”.

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