Industry Update
Opinion Article13 June 2019

Girls are the Best - The Life of a Hotel Doctor

By Mike Oppenheim, MD

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"'allo!" a little girl shouted from her bed as I walked into the room, but that was her only English. Her French parents had called because she was running a 101 fever.


She seemed delighted to see me and jumped to sit on the edge for her exam. Smiling happily she waited as I quizzed the parents, opened her mouth widely at the sight of the tongue depressor and made no complaint when I poked my otoscope into her ears.

I found everything normal. She had a virus that might last a few days and required only Tylenol. Staying in bed was not necessary. Everyone seemed pleased, the child most of all; she waved goodbye as I left.

I loved that visit. Readers are familiar with my admirable qualities, but I admit that I am not the sort of jovial physician who enchants young children. Mostly I do fine, but I've endured plenty of encounters with apologetic parents and a screaming, struggling toddler.

These are almost all boys. Adult male pugnaciousness has not made the world a comfortable place, and it works equally badly in children. They get the exam regardless, but it's drawn out and painful. The parents are embarrassed, the doctor relieved when it's over.

Little girls rarely make a scene. If frightened, they keep quiet. If not, they realize, almost from birth, that charm works wonders. Everyone relaxes and takes care of business. Women should run the world.

Mike Oppenheim

In his regular column "The Life of a Hotel Doctor", Mike Oppenheim shares remarkable stories around visiting hotel guests as a doctor. When he began as a hotel doctor during the 1980s, only luxury hotels had a “house doctor,” usually a local practitioner who did it as a sideline. Nowadays, in a large city even the lowliest motel receives blandishments from a dozen individuals plus several agencies that send moonlighting doctors if they can find one.

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