Mind Over Miller: Not that kind of doctor

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Apr 01, 2012


Robert M. Miller
I've encountered quite a few amusing stories in relation to the public's confusing veterinarians with physicians. For example, my practice partner, Dr. Bob Kind, had a son who was a local M.D.—a gastroenterologist. One day, when I was in the local human hospital, an announcement came over the loudspeaker: "Dr. Kind, telephone, line four."

Two women were sitting near me in the reception area. One looked at the other in amazement and said, "Dr. Kind? He treats my dogs!"

* * *

Then there was the time a foal ran into me and ruptured my left anterior cruciate ligament. I saw my orthopedic surgeon the next day, and he ordered radiographs at the hospital next door: "I'm sending a personal friend over. Please do a series on his left knee. He is Dr. Robert Miller."

When I entered the x-ray room, the technician said, "Well! What happened to you, Dr. Miller?"

"A patient knocked me down," I explained.

"No! Why?"

I responded laconically, "I was trying to catch her, and she knocked me down."

"Trying to catch her? Are you a psychiatrist?"

"No. I just wanted to vaccinate her."

"How could she knock you down? What kind of patient was she?"

"Pediatric."

The technician squinted at me. "How could a pediatric patient knock you down?"

"Well, she weighed more than 300 pounds."

"Oh, come on! You're kidding!"

"You asked me, and I told you," I said.

Just then a second technician came out from behind a screen and asked, "You're not a veterinarian, are you?"

* * *

Another funny tale involved my long-time friend Walter Cole, DVM, who spent his first year after graduating doing an internship at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital, which was across the street from the Veterans Hospital.

One day he answered the phone, "Dr. Cole."

"This is Mrs. Robinson," a voice answered. "How is my sweetie doing?"

"I'll find out," said Dr. Cole. He searched the files, and no animals were in the hospital owned by a Robinson.

"Let me go back and check the ward," he said, "because I can't find the records."

Later, he returned to the telephone and said, "Mrs. Robinson, I checked every cage, and he's not here."

"Cage?" she bellowed. "My husband's in a cage?"

Robert M. Miller, DVM, is an author and a cartoonist, speaker, and Veterinary Medicine Practitioner Advisory Board member from Thousand Oaks, Calif. His thoughts in "Mind Over Miller" are drawn from 32 years as a mixed-animal practitioner. Visit his website at http://robertmmiller.com/.