How to address a Doctor / Physician



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HONOR & RESPECT

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People with Two Titles      
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PhD     
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Ranger, Texas        
Representative,
   U.S., Federal           
Representative,
   U.S., State            
Reservist, Military      
Resident
    Commissioner 
Retired Military
   1. Formula For
       How to Address     
   2. Q&A / Blog On
       Use of Rank by
       Retired Military    
 

   3. Q&A / Blog on
       How to Address
       Retired Military   
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     I, II, III, etc.         
Senior Judge 
      
Sergeant       
Sergeant at Arms
          
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Sir       

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Warrant Officer       
Widow
     
White House Staff    
Woman, business        
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Yacht Club Officer      


   

How to Address a Doctor, Medical
How to Address Physician


Envelope, official:
    (Full name), MD
        (Name of practice, hospital, or clinic)
            (Address)


Letter salutation:
    Dear Dr. (surname):

How to address a doctor?  See also ...
     How to address a dentist     
     How to address a chiropractor        
     How to address a medical doctor    
     How to address a military doctor  
     How to address a veterinarian     
     How to address doctor holding an academic doctorate    
     How to address an optometrist
     How to address an osteopath     


FYI, here is what's come in to the Blog that relates to this office/rank.
   For recent questions sent in, check out Robert Hickey's Blog.

   For specific offices/ranks, check out Robert Hickey's On-Line Guide.


How Do I Use My Post-Nominals With My Own Name?
      How should my name appear on my checks "Dr. Cynthia Brodart" or "Cynthia Brodart, M.D." ?
            --- Cynthia Brodart

      How do I list my name on my daughter's wedding invitation?  As Kevin Millard, M.D. or Dr. Kevin Millard?
            --- K.M.

Dear Doctors:
      The form of your name you use at work and in official correspondence is with the post-nominals for your degree: (Full Name), M.D. Use this on checks, signage at our office, in listings as a physician -- anything relating to your practice of medicine.  This is also the form others use when they write to you at the office or write your name when they make out a check to you.
     The form of your name you use on social correspondence -- e.g., when you are listed as the host, bride or groom on a wedding invitation or others use when they send you a holiday card -- is
Dr. (Full Name). 
 
           -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Retired Physician?
    My friend who was a physician but involved in a car accident and no longer practices due to his injuries is now retired. He no longer has a state license. He is now beginning a Life Coach career and would like to know if he can still be addressed by Dr. in his title in regards to writing his name, or, does he just put MD after his name.
          --- Linda Whedbee

Dear Ms. Whedbee:
   He will be addressed as Dr. ... forever ... in practice, retired, consulting, or coaching.
            Dr. William Smith     (oral address or social form of address)
                        or
            William Smith, MD   (traditional form used when addressing a letter to a physician at their office)

 
                    -- Robert Hickey

How to Address a Physician Who Lost His License?
          I am involved in a case where the person on the other side is an MD who has lost his license, with good reason, in every state in the US where he ever held one.  Should this person still be addressed and referred to as Dr. Last Name? (i.e. Dr. Smith)
          Various judges and attorneys have weighed in on this subject.  A definitive answer from you would be much appreciated.
         -- S.B. in Chico


Dear S.B.
          I don't have a definitive answer for you, but several ideas come to mind. I sense there is a desire to address him as Mr. (name) to "reduce" him from being addressed as Dr. (name). 
          1) By custom, U.S. elected officials are addressed as The Honorable, unless they are removed from office or are leave in disgrace.  There is no protocol police force out there to enforce it, but that's the custom.
          2) The honorific Dr. is not issued by the local medical society. They issue licenses to practice with in a certain jurisdiction. Retired physicians who no longer maintain their license are still addressed as Dr. (name). So addressing as Dr. is not limited to only having a current license.
          3) There is no single Dr. with power over ALL the doctors in the same way a Bishop holds a high hierarchical office with power over all the lower ranked clerics.  In the case of a defrocked priest, since he is part of a hierarchy, someone can take his rank away.  But, being a physician is not part of this kind of hierarchy.
         4) Being a "Dr." is a personal rank: one is a Dr., 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is separate from having a particular job, like chief of staff at a hospital or chairman of the department of surgery. Those are offices one might be forced out of, but one remains a Dr.
          5)
Being a doctor, ambassador or general are all personal ranks, and one is addressed by a personal rank in both professional and non-professional situations.  E.g., a physician is addressed Dr. (name) while seeing patients (present as a doctor) at the hospital. On weekends, when he is washing his car in his driveway (not present as a doctor), he's ALSO addressed as Dr. (name).
          So calling him Dr. when he's not a physician isn't much different than calling him Dr. when he's washing his car ... it's not pertinent to the task at hand ... but he continues to be addressed as
Dr. (name).
          -- Robert Hickey

Who Has Higher Precedence: Doctors or Lawyers?
       If ever a host is to receive a medical doctor and a lawyer, with regards to the table seating, who would have precedence: the doctor or the lawyer?
       -- Marie Ange

Dear Ms. Ange,
    I am not aware of any situation in which precedence would be given to physicians and/or lawyers simply due to their profession (outside of an university event, e.g., a their graduation.)
    At official events doctors and lawyers have the precedence of any other citizen, are listed alphabetically in a roster, and would not receive preferential seating.
    However, if he or she held an office (or attended an event in a role) that gave them higher precedence
-- a doctor or lawyer might be seated by the precedence of their office. For example, as president of the local medical board and attending an event as the official representative the organization, a doctor might be seated with other community leaders.
    Or 
a doctor or lawyer is the guest of honor, then he or she would be seated to the right of the host at a table.
        -- Robert Hickey


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For forms of address for invitations, place cards, name badges, introductions, conversation, and all other formal uses, see Honor & Respect: the Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address.

Copyright © 2014 Robert Hickey.     All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Marc Goodman.





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