Heart of a Lion, Hands of a Woman: What Women Neurosurgeons Do
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Monday, June 6, 2011

Call From ER

Sunday morning the call came from the service-the Emergency Room is looking for you. OK, so I was on my way out to walk the dogs along the Hudson River on a glorious late spring morning but...I was hoping it would be quick and painless.
"Emergency Room," she answered.
"Hi.  This is Dr. Benzil, I am returning the call to Dr. W."  I replied.
"Is HE available?" she volleyed back.
PAUSE-I wasn't sure what she meant so...
"This is Dr. Benzil, Is Dr. W. available?"  I tried a different tactic.
Still she seemed confused, "I will get her to the phone when HE picks up."
Finally I understood. "I am Dr. Benzil, a she not a he."
I imagined some light bulb turning on, "Oh, I will get Dr. W."

It is June 2011.  I have worked at this hospital and this ER for more than 7 years and do more cases there than any other neurosurgeon and yet, the deep seated notion of doctors (particularly neurosurgeons) as male clearly lives on.  Sigh, perhaps in the next decade...


  1. I am sure this happens to you too...or maybe they know you too well by now.

  2. Hard to believe, in this day and age...

  3. We're seeing the neurologist now to get his 2 dollars on the craniostenosis and microcephaly. I'm scared too, wanting he has something employed to say.
    James Makker, MD

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