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Culture dictates doctor greetings

June 25, 2007

Regarding your article ["Meet, Greet Then Treat," June 18], I think how a doctor greets his patients is largely a cultural thing.

In the past six decades, I have been treated by doctors in Europe, Canada, New York, Chicago and L.A. Without exception, doctors, some young enough to be my children, address patients in L.A., including new patients, by their first name.

When I respond using their first name (even if I respect their schooling and call them "Dr. Joe") I can tell by their facial expression that they don't like it.

In other cities and countries, I was usually shown the courtesy of choosing how I wanted to address, and be addressed by, the doctor.

I am not sure the greeting has to include a handshake, as I would be concerned about medical personnel passing on germs from previous patients.

GORDON FROEDE

Cheviot Hills

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