The truth is, when I hear my colleagues use terms of endearment with patients, I hear only warmth, sincerity, and genuine compassion, and I hope that's what my patients have heard in the past coming from me. But I can see how such terms, if used in a dismissive, insincere, or almost snide or sarcastic way, can transmit all the destructive negativity described in the New York Times article.
Let's pretend for a moment that my name is Dr. Smith.
TWO WEEKS after the above incident I had this conversation with a patient and her son:
Me: "Good morning, I'm Dr. Smith."
Patient and Son proceed to ignore me despite the fact that our conversation has been interrupted and is not over and I was just beginning to ask about important medical information.
Just another day at the office...