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?
- 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: Comic Books]]
[[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.
- 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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.