Why do Surgeons become Mr? Why are surgeons called Mr barber? What is the difference between Dr and Mr in medicine?, How to address a surgeon.


Why are surgeons called Mr butcher? Are surgeons called Mr in Australia?

Answer by Dr Femi:

Its a commonwealth of Nations tradition. Uk, Ireland, Australia, S. Africa etc. In the middle ages, surgeons didn’t go to medical school, the trade was an apprenticeship and anyone could get in. Only physicians were formally educated and allowed to use the “Dr” title.

After the formation of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1800, they had to take exams and then allowed to take on the MRCS title and called “Dr”. Some however, probably out of “inverted snobbery” stuck to the old title of “Mr”. They call themselves Doctors to the layman though.

Some Comments and more answers

Dr Udomoh

I just hope this is not a sub chief because I am seeing barbers and carpenters?


Good thing is, now, surgical training combines the rigors of being a ordinary doctor with special surgical training which may be as long as 7-10years. Let me say it like this, all surgeons are doctors but only few doctors are (lucky enough to be) surgeons.

Chuks Nesta Nnaji

Seems they are now tired of the title, as surgical assistants are also by default addressed as Mr/Mrs/Ms. Hear the President of the Royal College of Surgeons: “Patients have got to know who’s treating them. Unless we get precise about it,no one will know who anyone is any more”.

Imperius Rex

Saw this too in Badoe, they were initially barbers it wasnt until later when they got some medical training before going on to do surgeries…according to the history of surgery, Surgeons feel insulted being called doctors.

Why do Surgeons become Mr? Why are surgeons called Mr barber? Why are surgeons called Mr butcher?
Why do Surgeons become Mr? Why are surgeons called Mr barber?


If I join Royal college of surgery, I’m still putting that Dr in front of my name.

Kay MD

The cutlass people


I think I read somewhere that the original Hippocratic oath was against using a knife as physicians thought it was beneath them .


Doctors in the United Kingdom drop the ‘Dr’ title when they join the Royal College of Surgeons.


To differentiate themselves from the other mere mortals who don’t open up the human body.


Surgeons in the United Kingdom are called Mr and Ms.


The earlier surgeon(s) were butchers, barbers and carpenters. They were never doctors. They were called misters.

Leo Pantro

Actually it’s correct. Barbers and carpenters where the ones called when people had bone or skin injuries. They broke bones to correct them and sew skins together. To identify barber’s shops, the barbers wrapped blood soaked bandages on poles in front of their shops. If you look at American barbers shop you will see a pole of alternating red and white colours; indicating the blood soaked bandages with clean white bandages.
When crude Barbers started improving in their skills, they formed an association with some focusing on human body alone.


The Difference between Dr and Mr in medicine based on history and nothing else. Physicians were called Drs (Doctors) while surgeons also known as butchers or barbers or carpenters were called Mr (Mister).

Thread by Femi@ojayfemi



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