But the anaesthetists are being honest. They want more recognition and at the risk of embarrassment and appearing human, they are asking for it. It takes courage to speak the truth, even about something trivial. They could have easily said the name change was in order to align with international terminology. Or even just changed the name without fanfare.
When working in a life-or-death profession, excuses, in place of honesty, risk a lot more than just embarrassment and ridicule. People are not perfect, and doctors are people. It takes courage to challenge a stereotype, and confess deficit, even if it is simply admitting you want more recognition from patients.
Doctors could benefit from honesty about some less trivial matters such as admitting to fault and when something is beyond their skills.
In Shakespeare’s play about star-crossed lovers, Juliet remarks that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. An anaesthetist by any other name would still save lives. However, being honest about the desire for a name change should be applauded as it indicates a healthy approach to their vocation. Other doctors would all do well to smell these roses too.
Dr Victor Lu is a doctor-scientist from Sydney.
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