Friday, August 31, 2007

The Patient Formerly Known as Ronnie

"Hello, is that Dorothy?"



"Daphne. My name's Daphne."

Because I have a slightly unusual name, once people have learned it they do tend to remember it. But there are one or two people who always think I'm either Dorothy or Diane and it always makes me instantly cross.

The Communist's name is Ron, or Ronnie. He has always hated his full name of Ronald, because, as he points out, the letter l and the letter d are not ones which sit easily together. Nobody has ever called him Ronald since he left school.

Until now. In both hospitals he's been in, and in the nursing home, everyone, without exception, calls him Ronald. Above his bed in the hospital it says Ronald. I hear all the doctors and nurses and health care assistants:

"Come on Ronald, it's time for your tablets Ronald, here's your cup of tea Ronald, do you want asweetener Ronald?"

And I want to shout THAT'S NOT HIS NAME.

I asked him about it tonight and he said he's not too bothered any more: he just thinks of Ronald as his hospital name, like actors have an Equity name.

But I think they should take the trouble to get the patient's name right. Wouldn't it be good if the name plate above the bed gave the full name and then the name that the patient likes to be known by? Would that be beyond the NHS's organisational ability?

Even better, wouldn't it be a Good Thing if the hospital staff, when they first meet a patient, could ask them what they like to be called and then put it in their notes and tell everyone else? Is that too difficult? When medical students are trained in Communication Skills, I know that they are trained to ask the patient how they would like to be addressed.

Perhaps next year I will have to try to get the "put it in the notes and tell everyone" bit added. Whatever happened to common sense and just that tiny bit of insight?


Blogger Diz said...

Family call me Xxx, my given name.
Friends call me Diz, my earned name(!)
Everyone else may call me Mrs Yyyyyy

10:07 pm  
Blogger Silverback said...

To be fair, do THEY know any different ? There is nothing in the post to tell us how they got his name in the first place so.....I guess they're just calling him what they've been told by someone or found on some document or medical notes.

I mean you said Ronald IS his name so if no one has told them otherwise, can they be faulted ?

Ok I'm off to the corner now.........

11:42 pm  

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