Everyday Sexism in hospital letters

Why do some of the male consultants I see at the hospital (e.g. chest doctor and ENT specialist) refer to me as ‘nice’ and ‘this lovely patient’ in the letters they write to my GP? Surely they wouldn’t refer to a male patient in the same way? I have to say, there are other male consultants that simply refer to me in terms of age and my conditions, which is fine. None of my female consultants (rheumatologist, osteoporosis specialist etc.) feel the need to describe me like this. I would love to know others’ experience of hospital letters. Some people might say that I’m overreacting, that it’s amusing or that I should be flattered, but surely I’m not the only person who finds this kind of language inappropriate?

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4 thoughts on “Everyday Sexism in hospital letters

  1. I’ve never experienced this myself so can’t speak from my own experience. It seems weird though and I agree that it’s inappropriate. I can’t see any reason for why someone “need” to include those words in a hospital letter. They are not examining your personality so that has nothing to do with the medical judgement. The only thing that should matter is the medical information.

  2. I am a 59 year old woman and the consultant’s letter to me and my GP referred to me as ‘this young lady’ after my short appointment with me. Inappropriate I feel. As my 33 yr old daughter says, any female over the age of 14 would find this inappropriate.

    • Hello Linda, thank you for commenting. It is astonishing that some consultants do this. Perhaps all medical students should have one session on learning how to write appropriate letters about their patients! I imagine they already have training in how to take notes during consultations with patients.

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