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May 13, 1983


Author Affiliations

San Pablo, Calif

JAMA. 1983;249(18):2458-2459. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03330420020019

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To the Editor.—  I must take exception to the comments by Dr Selma H. Calmes (1982;248:2321) in which she states that the word dear is used in the medical world exclusively for female patients and that the use of this word is demeaning to women.The fact is that the word dear applies equally well to both males and females and that I have heard female nurses call both male and female patients dear in many instances. This word is not infrequently used as a spontaneous signal for genuine caring between a medical professional and his or her patient. It is unfortunate that our society has a taboo against male medical professionals addressing male patients with some word of affection. Our highly technological hospitals are causing the patient to become more anonymous each day, and there is undoubtedly room for an occasional word indicative of an emotional relationship between nurse