Created By: Thecommander236 on January 24, 2013 Last Edited By: Thecommander236 on March 19, 2013
Troped

Afraid Of Doctors

Being irrationally afraid of a medical professional

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Main
Page Type:
Trope
So it's time for that routine checkup. The doctor is in, but you have a major problem. You have iatrophobia, the fear of doctors. You kick, scream, and whine that you don't want to go and that everything is fine. Who knows why you fear the doctor or what type you fear? Maybe you had a failed procedure, maybe you only fear dentists, maybe major surgery just gives you shivers, maybe you think this particular doctor or nurse is rumored to be insane, or maybe this professional is unlicensed to what s/he is trying to do (even if he or she is the closest thing you have). Whatever the situation, you don't want to go and place his life in someone else's hands...

This is more justified in the past, before the introduction of anesthesia in surgery and the use of disinfectants to prevent infection and the spread of disease.

This trope makes for a decent Character Development, and Tear Jerker occasionally. This is the super trope of Afraid of Needles. Compare and contrast Depraved Dentist, Mad Doctor, and Morally Ambiguous Doctorate. Those are the kind of doctors you should fear. Also compare Afraid of Blood. This is also a sub-Trope of Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?.

Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime/Manga]]
  • In Bleach, Retsu Unohana is normally calm, gentle, polite, and kind, but other characters fear her because she is the second-strongest member of the Soul Society if pushed far enough, and the only one besides Ichigo capable of taking out most of the antagonists. Even everyone from Squad 11 is afraid of her (Kenpachi is at least cautious).
  • In Gintama, an episode reveals that both Gintoki and HIjikata are afraid of the dentist despite being adults. The fact that they meet at a Depraved Dentist clinic didn't help.
  • In Lucky Star, Miyuki is afraid of going to the dentist, and often tries avoiding this even when she knows she should go.
  • The trope is named by Natsu Tanimoto from Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple. In his past, his father married a female doctor who promised to tend to his sister's sickness. After the doctor murdered his father, Natsu discovered that she [the doctor] never bothered tending to her, sprouting a seed for distrust in the boy.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books]] [[/folder]]

[[folder: Film Live-Action]]
  • In The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, the Baron is afraid of doctors he can easily avoid the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death until the doctor comes in.
  • The 1950's Doctor... series about a group of students, later young doctors, at London teaching hospital "St Swithins". In Doctor at Large, young doctor Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) encounters this reaction in a patient terrified of going in for an operation and has to persuade her the surgeon conducting the OP (who trained Sparrow) is the very best out there. This is based on the books by Richard Gordon, so this is also a Literature trope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature]]
  • In his Yorkshire Vet stories, James Herriot notes that older country folk in rural Yorkshire could be wary and apprehensive about visiting the doctor. (Part of this could be due to the fact that socialized medicine in Britain only began with the NHS in 1945: in the 1930's, going to the doctor involved paying him for his services, and poor people tried to avoid this until it was really necessary.) Herriot also noted many instances of vet-phobia among animals and their owners.)
  • In Alan Garner's two fantasy novels set in rural Cheshire, especially in The Moon of Gomrath, the old farmer's wife has a strong rural English fear of doctors, displaying great reluctance at having Susan being seen by the medical profession during her coma (brought on by her being possessed by an old Celtic spirit of evil).
  • Not exactly afraid, but Hagrid in one of the Harry Potter books described doctors as "those muggle nutters who cut people up" - one wonders if JK has a problem with the medical profession...
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live-Action TV]]
  • Dick in the Halloween Episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun.
  • In an episode of Monk, Adrian Monk reveals that dentists are among the many things he fears. The dentist in question becomes the main suspect in the episode's murder investigation, but Monk is afraid of the dentist's office even before he suspects the man.
  • Pediatrician Sean Jamison, played by the late Brian Keith, had such a good rapport with children that he was often misunderstood by adults who weren't parents. One of Doctor Jamison's patients was Alfred, the Magnificent Brat, who liked to draw the good doctor as a leering monster with an enormous syringe. This tended to terrorize the other young patients in the waiting room.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Newspaper Comics]]
  • When a missionary doctor first arrived in Bangalla in Lee Falk's The Phantom, he was distrusted by the natives. However, when their shaman routinely failed to cure their ills, the natives began coming to the genial, methodical doctor.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web comic]]
  • In Cuanta Vida, the Blue Doctor is insane or at least immoral, but the trope itself is subverted by the Blue Heavy who has no problems being around and is very upset when the Doctor is killed.
  • From the 23 January 2009 strip of Rick Griffin's Housepets!, Grape's first encounter with a veterinarian seemed like meeting Cthulhu. She still harbors a distrust of vets. Of note: animals in the Housepets! universe act much like furry children.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation]]
  • In Spongebob Squarepants episode "Suds", Patrick tells SpongeBob that the doctor's is a horrible place to go. Of course, while SpongeBob believed him, he asked if Patrick could be his doctor, but that didn't help cure the suds. As Sandy took SpongeBob to the real doctor for the sponge treatment, he realizes that it isn't such a bad place after all and was given a lollipop. Proven wrong by this, Patrick asks for the sponge treatment, but he was proven right as the treatment didn't turned out to be so well.
  • Jof the cat in Bruno Bozzetto's 1995 cartoon "Help!" goes to a hospital for a pricked finger. There, he encounters doctors who are evil or insane or both. The next time he pricks his finger, Jof stays home.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Real Life]]
  • Many dogs are like this for veterinary visits, which lead to their owners to Censorship by Spelling.
  • The mouth has a lot of nerves close to the surface and the tissue is softer than skin. This makes dental procedures surprisingly painful which is why they use numbing chemicals for major procedures. That doesn't stop the needle itself hurting.
  • White coat syndrome is a real condition where a person's blood pressure is elevated in a clinical setting (but not in a more relaxed setting), presumably because of doctor-related anxiety.
  • Some people feel humiliated in seeking help (even if from a licensed professional), or they may feel they know their condition better than the doctor. This fear is unexpectedly common, so don't be surprised if you come across someone like this.
  • Maria Menounous, the Entertainment Weekly journalist, is afraid of doctors after she was molested by one when she was young.
  • More justified in the past, before the introduction of anesthesia in surgery and the use of disinfectants to prevent infection and the spread of disease.
  • Beethoven died of lead poisoning. His treatment included bleeding and enemas which wouldn't have helped and made him feel worse. This was taken Up to Eleven, when his disease was revealed in 21st century. Why? Itís because they also treated him with lead based medicine which only accelerated him to deafness and death.
[[/folder]]
Community Feedback Replies: 70
  • January 24, 2013
    alecphobia95
    For several anime, like "Bleach", the medic of the show is feared. Especially in "Bleach".
  • January 24, 2013
    Larkmarn
    I say Afraid Of Doctors since Fear The Doctor makes it sound like the fear is justified.
  • January 24, 2013
    McKathlin
    Fear of dentists is especially common; this fear drives the Depraved Dentist trope.
  • January 24, 2013
    McKathlin
    If the fear is justified because the doctor is insane, that's a Mad Doctor.

    And yeah, I second calling this trope Afraid Of Doctors to make it clear that it describes someone who's afraid of going to a doctor, rather than a doctor who should be feared.
  • January 24, 2013
    MetaFour
    Yeah, a doctor who ought to be feared would fall under Morally Ambiguous Doctorate.

    • White coat syndrome is a real condition where a person's blood pressure is elevated in a clinical setting (but not in a more relaxed setting), presumably because of doctor-related anxiety.
  • January 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Many dogs are shown to be like this for vetrenairy [sp] visits, which leads their owners to Censorship By Spelling.
  • January 25, 2013
    Thecommander236
    The thing is Depraved Dentist and Mad Doctor are strange in this regard. You don't necessary have to fear the Mad Doctor, but if characters do, then the examples also go into here. Mad Doctor also assumes the doctor is insane, but what if he's just morally ambiguous? If he's feared he should go here. I never said the the fear had to be irrational.If anyone wants to debate the point, now's the time.

    EDIT: For now, I will only include examples that are irrational, but I may change it back unless someone gives me a reason. That makes the Bleach example not applicable since I know that doctor is insane or someone who really does need to be feared.
  • January 26, 2013
    ZombieAladdin
    I think they're talking about Retsu Unohana, not Mayuri Kurotsuchi--Retsu is normally calm, gentle, polite, and kind, but other characters fear her because she is the second-strongest member of the Soul Society if pushed far enough, and the only one besides Ichigo capable of taking out most of the antagonists.

    A possible reason why someone might not want to see the doctor is out of pride: That is, they may feel humiliated in seeking help (even if from a licensed professional), or they may feel they know their condition better than the doctor. I can't think of fictional examples, but I have known people like this.
  • January 29, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Oh right, her. I don't really watch any more. Even everyone, including the boss, of Squad 13 are weary of her.

    I'll add that real life example, but it is borderline given that that is close to "fear the societal backlash of looking weak to your peers" trope which, to be fair, I don't think exists or should exist.
  • January 29, 2013
    TrueShadow1
  • January 29, 2013
    Random888
  • January 31, 2013
    MetaFour
    • In an episode of Monk, Adrian Monk reveals that dentists are among the many things he fears. The dentist in question becomes the main suspect in the episode's murder investigation, but Monk is afraid of the dentist's office even before he suspects the man.
  • February 1, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    In Spongebob Squarepants episode "Suds", Patrick tells Spongebob that the doctors is a horrible place to go. Of course, while Spongebob believed him, he asked if Patrick could be his doctor, but that didn't help cure the suds. As Sandy took Spongebob to the real doctor for the sponge treatment, he realizes that it isn't such a bad place after all and was given a lollipop. Proven wrong by this, Patrick asks for the sponge treatment, but he was proven right as the treatment didn't turned out to be so well.
  • February 2, 2013
    XFllo
    Is it actually worthy of being a trope? To me it sounds like Why Did It Have To Be Snakes. But then again Afraid Of Blood and Afraid Of Needles are tropes of their own, so let's see what other tropers think.

    If you continue with this effort, just a reminder: your last example in Real Life section (starting Some people feel humiliated...) should be rewritten. First person "I" to refer to the editor is discouraged on the wiki. :-)
  • February 2, 2013
    Thecommander236
    This would be a Super Trope of Afraid Of Blood and Afraid Of Needles. Sort of. Any ways, a better reason for having this is that Why Did It Have To Be Snakes only lists 21 to 23 phobias specifically. There are hundreds of phobias and Iatrophobia isn't specifically mentioned on the page, so it can get it's own page.
  • February 3, 2013
    XFllo
    Hm, Afraid Of Blood in my opinion would not be necessarily sub-trope to Afraid Of Doctors because I can think of examples from both real life and fiction when the person is afraid of blood, pure and simple, and not in a medical context.

    There are hundreds of phobias.

    My point exactly. I think we are not going to have a trope page on every single phobia. The fear would have to be really prominent in the works of fiction to deserve it.

    Iatrophobia isn't specifically mentioned on the page.

    It might be very useful and appreciated to add these examples to Why Did It Have To Be Snakes as a new folder and sort-of sub-trope.

  • February 3, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Well the thing is, why add examples for every phobia on one page? We would overload the page. There's a phobia for chairs for cripes sake. Obviously, that doesn't need its own page, but one that is as common as iatrophobia would increase the page's length greatly. Plus, they are so many doctor tropes already that people may mistakenly put examples of this trope on those tropes (this is a common phobia and I found a total of one example on Why Did It Have To Be Snakes). In addition, if we start separating common phobias now, we are less likely to have a single huge page, thus making another Overdosed Trope. Hitting the down arrow button on the page it takes me 1 minute and 45 seconds to scroll through the whole page. That's an half hour to an hour of reading. In fact, I think Why Did It Have To Be Snakes needs to go into Trope Repair Shop any ways because the name is misleading since ophidiophobia is such a small, small part of that page.
  • February 4, 2013
    Arivne
    ^ "I think Why Did It Have To Be Snakes needs to go into Trope Repair Shop any ways because the name is misleading since ophidiophobia is such a small, small part of that page."

    The title of Why Did It Have To Be Snakes is a Trope Namer from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
  • February 4, 2013
    XFllo
    I would not mind having Why Did It Have To Be Snakes renamed and sorted out, personally, but if I am not mistaken, it's been around for a very long time as one of the earliest, and these tropes rarely get renamed. Also let's not forget that tropes are not specific (e.g. Bag Of Holding includes improbably large pockets, suitcases, or what have you).

  • February 5, 2013
    Thecommander236
    The title of Why Did It Have To Be Snakes is a Trope Namer from Raiders Of The Lost Ark.

    Exactly! Not everyone knows what Raiders Of The Lost Arc is. I've watched 10 minutes of that movie tops. If it wasn't for TV tropes I may not have gotten the reference. The movie came out 32 years ago! We have kids a third of that age on TV tropes. Little trivia for you, the movie was almost given an R rating. Today, it would be given a PG-13 (they blocked out the exploding head thing a little and all they had was PG back then). 15th anniversary, I was 3. 20th, I was 8. 25th, I was 13 and was into anime and sci-fi (also the movie was a little freaky). 30th, I didn't even notice it was its anniversary. If Americans can not get a quote from Indiana Jones where that name is known by everybody, then I'm really doubting certain countries with computers will have any idea what that movie is about.
  • February 7, 2013
    AgProv
    Literature: in his Yorkshire Vet stories, James Herriot notes that older country folk in rural Yorkshire could be wary and apprehensive about visiting the doctor. (Part of this could be due to the fact that socialised medicine in Britain only began with the NHS in 1945: in the 1930's, going to the doctor involved paying him for his services, and poor people tried to avoid this until it was really necessary.) Herriot also noted many instances of vet-phobia among animals and their owners.)

    In Alan Garner's two fantasy novels set in rural Cheshire, especially in The Moon of Gomrath, the old farmer's wife has a strong rural English fear of doctors, displaying great reluctance at having Susan being seen by the medical profession during her coma (brought on by her being possessed by an old Celtic spirit of evil).
  • February 7, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Added the examples and did a basic grammar/spelling check.
  • February 22, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Needs hats. Unless someone has a suggestion as to how to help this.
  • February 23, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ You cannot ask for hats just like that;-) People give you hats when they think trope is ready and launch-able.

    What I think is stopping the hats coming is the unresolved issue of whether Afraid Of Doctors should be a part of Why Did It Have To Be Snakes or whether that trope itself should be split, and then this one will be OK to be launched on its own.
  • February 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
  • February 24, 2013
    XFllo
    ^ OK, my bad. I didn't know that.
  • February 25, 2013
    XFllo
    However, Trope Repair Shop has reached the limit. We ha have to wait a bit till somebody can start the conversation. But perhaps we could take it to Trope Talk, just to collect some opinions on the matter of splitting versus lumping?
  • February 25, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Yes, exactly. I'm in favor of splitting of Why Did It Have To Be Snakes, but only with the major phobias.
  • February 26, 2013
    Zanreo
    • In Lucky Star, Miyuki is afraid of going to the dentist, and often tries avoiding this even when she knows she should go.
  • February 26, 2013
    Thecommander236
  • February 27, 2013
    Duncan
    In The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, the Baron is afraid of doctors he can easily avoid the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death until the doctor comes in.
  • February 27, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Added.
  • February 27, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Kind of iffy, but I'll lob it anyway. Live Action TV
    • Pediatrician Sean Jamison, played by the late Brian Keith, had such a good rapport with children that he was often misunderstood by adults who weren't parents. One of Doctor Jamison's patients was Alfred, the Magnificent Brat, who liked to draw the good doctor as a leering monster with an enormous syringe. This tended to terrorize the other young patients in the waiting room.
  • February 27, 2013
    Thecommander236
    I feel it works because the other patients (no matter their age) were giving in to a rumor and there really wasn't a reason to fear him. Just paranoia. Added.

    However, I need the show that comes from...
  • February 28, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    ^ Oops, pardon me, Chief. That would be The Brian Keith Show from 1972 to 1974, set in Oahu, Hawaii.
  • February 28, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    Maria Menounous, the Entertainment Weekly journalist, is afraid of doctors after she was molested by one when she was young.
  • February 28, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Jof the cat in Bruno Bozzetto's 1995 cartoon "Help!" goes to a hospital for a pricked finger. There, he encounters doctors who are evil or insane or both. The next time he pricks his finger, Jof stays home.
  • February 28, 2013
    Thecommander236
    All fixed and added.
  • February 28, 2013
    Thecommander236
    How the holy hell did I lose a hat? People are weird...
  • March 2, 2013
    Arha
    A matter related to this has come up in the TRS. Namely, Doesnt Trust Doctors already exists. I suggest expanding the definition of this trope to include that since the page is just a stub.
  • March 2, 2013
    Thecommander236
    I say, nuke that page, add the details from that page to this page. Put a redirect on that page to this trope or just don't.

    The reason being:

    1. That page was launched early (you need three examples, that one started with ZERO).

    2. That page is not as detailed and is not attached Why Did It Have To Be Snakes. and

    3. That page was never even indexed.
  • March 2, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    ^ Seconded. This trope can encompass apprehension or distrust as well as genuine fear or even terror of medical professionals.

    Webcomics
    • From the 23 January 2009 strip of Rick Griffin's Webcomic/Housepets, Grape's first encounter with a veterinarian seemed like meeting Cthulhu. She still harbors a distrust of vets. Of note: animals in the Webcomic/Housepets universe act much like furry children.
  • March 2, 2013
    Arha
    The title for this trope will probably need tweaking to something more like Doesnt Like Doctors.
  • March 2, 2013
    Thecommander236
    I hate trope titles that need a apostrophe and don't have one. It would be Does Not... I'll put it on there.

    I changed the description a little and add parts from Doesnt Trust Doctors. I also added the example from that page, but I left out the Tear Jerker entry since that is a YMMV trope.

    Also, added Bunny's example.
  • March 4, 2013
    Arha
    The page could be custom titled to display with the apostrophe.
  • March 4, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Elaborate if you will.
  • March 4, 2013
    Arha
    Once the trope is launched, you go to the toolbar on the left side of the page. Under tools, select Customize Title and then you can request that the page display as 'Doesn't Like Doctors' or whatever you wish.
  • March 5, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Does this work for everyone or just the individual?
  • March 5, 2013
    Arha
    Everyone. It makes it automatically display as whatever you ask for so long as the mod approves it.
  • March 5, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Okay, cool. Good to at least know the mechanic. Not sure if I agree on the name change, but I'll think about it.

    Anyone have any suggestions on how to improve this?
  • March 7, 2013
    AgProv
    Film: the 1950's Doctor.. series about a group of students, later young doctors, at London teaching hospital "St Swithins". In Doctor at Large, young doctor Simon Sparrow (Dirk Bogarde) encounters this reaction in a patient terrified of going in for an operation and has to persuade her the surgeon conducting the op (who trained Sparrow) is the very best out. Based on the books by Richard Gordon, so also a Literature trope.
  • March 7, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Added.
  • March 7, 2013
    XFllo
    I don't much like the Tear Jerker mentioned in the description. I have a thing against subjective tropes. :-)
  • March 7, 2013
    Thecommander236
    True, true, but I make a point of keeping all subjective tropes out of actual examples. Let people put that in YMMV.
  • March 8, 2013
    Frank75
    More spread in the past, when medicine wasn't that developed yet. Justified so.
  • March 8, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Can you write so it makes more sense?
  • March 8, 2013
    morenohijazo
  • March 8, 2013
    Thecommander236
    I will be watching that YKTTW with interest.
  • March 9, 2013
    Exxolon
    Not exactly afraid, but Hagrid in the ?first? Harry Potter book described doctors as "those muggle nutters who cut people up" - one wonders if JK has a problem with the medical profession...
  • March 9, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Distrusting seems relevant, yes. Added
  • March 10, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^^^^ More justified in the past, before the introduction of anesthesia in surgery and the use of disinfectants to prevent infection and the spread of disease in hospitals.
  • March 10, 2013
    Thecommander236
    You know. I just read part of a book about at a FUNERAL home. Why didn't I think of that? Added.
  • March 10, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Pardon me for missing a critical detail, namely the doctor's name. However all the other particulars are clear in my mind.

    Newspaper Comics
    • When a missionary doctor first arrived in Bangalla in Lee Falk's The Phantom, he was distrusted by the natives. However, when their shaman routinely failed to cure their ills, the natives began coming to the genial, methodical doctor.
  • March 11, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Apparently it was added.
  • March 15, 2013
    morenohijazo
    Possible indexes?
  • March 15, 2013
    Thecommander236
  • March 16, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Tired, late, got to get up early, be at a meeting on Monday, and having a party tomorrow. I'll launch this sometime in the next three days, hopefully, don't launch it, because I have to do some checking on everything.
  • March 18, 2013
    OneInTwenty
    I don't know if this is tropeworthy on its own, similarly Needles and Blood. The problem with this is there's a basic fear of these things in nearly all humans at a young age that most overcome. If the character fears doctors because of past trauma, it'd be Why Did It Have To Be Snakes. If the character just never got over the fear, it'd be a minor character trait of little note.
  • March 18, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    No I think this is still tropable on its own merit. Why Did It Have To Be Snakes focuses mainly on a character coming face to face with their worst fears. This trope is about characters who fear/mistrust/hate doctors. I would, though, mention what this fear reveals about these iatrophobiacs. Like did they all have a bad childhood, do they have trust issues, or are they childlike?
  • March 19, 2013
    Thecommander236
    Guys, the fears listed under Why Did It Have To Be Snakes can all be separated from that page if we wanted to. We have a thing called lumping vs splitting. If a works page gets so many tropes it is split into example pages. If a trope is used a lot, then it can be broken down. Fear Of Needles and Fear Of Blood were separated from Why Did It Have To Be Snakes because they are so common. I decided that this might be common enough to stand on its own.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fatavbvobwzawbafmqnlcb6h