[[quoteright:185:[[Webcomic/GirlGenius http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GirlGenius_DoctorsOrders_6871.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:185:[-Some patients...-] ]]

->'''[=McCoy=]''': I would like to remedy that situation.\\
'''Spock''': If you believe I have acted irregularly, then relieve me of duty. That is your prerogative as medical officer of this ship.
-->-- ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries''

You're TheLeader, the ReasonableAuthorityFigure, TheCaptain, TheEmperor! You rule a world, [[GalacticConqueror a galaxy]], [[DimensionLord a dimension]], [[MultiversalConqueror multiple universes]]! Everyone obeys ''you''! Even if you do have a cold, or a broken arm! So who is this man who dares to order you about? And act huffy when you don't obey in haste?

Well, he's your doctor. By which we mean, he ''is'' [[NotThatKindOfDoctor that kind of doctor.]] Unless, of course, he's the [[HealingHands healer]], the midwife, the nurse, TheMedic, or any other member of the healing profession. And he is quite certain that you must obey [[TropeNamer The Doctor's Orders]].

No matter what exalted position their patients hold, and what power the patient has over the doctor in non-medical matters, in their field of expertise, doctors are adamant that they are in charge. This does not mean that the patient will actually obey -- even the ReasonableAuthorityFigure may defy him for reasons of state -- but the doctor will regard it as being a bad patient, not their exercising rightful authority.

Can also apply when the figure gives orders about a third party, the doctor's patient.

RuleOfDrama dictates it will be most often seen when the patient does not want to obey, as when a character chooses to PullTheIV, brush aside the ineffectual medic stuttering "YouCanBarelyStand!" and [[ThePatientHasLeftTheBuilding get back to business]]. Alternately, a doctor may invoke this trope in a less serious context, to order their friend to [[ForYourOwnGood take some time off or enjoy themselves]], or a character may invoke it to refuse permission to see the patient or the like. Occasionally it's used to explain something -- like an absence -- quickly and get on with the plot.

Not to be confused with the ''Franchise/StarTrek'' novel ''Doctor's Orders'', although the title is a pun on this trope.

* Invoked in a series of ads for Dr. Pepper where various people ([[Series/{{Frasier}} Kelsey Grammer]], [[Music/{{KISS}} Gene Simmons]], Music/DrDre, etc.) who are known in pop culture for being or having the nickname "doctor" shill for Dr. Pepper saying, "[[TrustMeImAnX trust me, I'm a doctor]]."

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Whenever a member of the [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bat-clan]] gets sick or injured enough that they ''need'' rest, Alfred will make sure their fool-asses stay in bed so they can heal properly.
* In ''Comicbook/DoctorStrange: The Oath'', another physician pulls this on Strange a few times. Justified since he's genuinely injured; though if he hadn't been somewhat taken with her he probably wouldn't have listened.

* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' fic ''Fanfic/WhyandWere'', Assassin Johanna Smith-Rhodes is patched up in the field by an Igor and ignores his advice not to put any strain on a broken forearm. She concludes her contract by firing a powerful crossbow, and the recoil and stress re-breaks the arm. The Guild's Matron Igorina is suitably sarcastic and acerbic.
--> Is there any point in me re-setting this fracture? Which part, exactly, of ''you-have-broken-your-arm,-do-not-put-any-strain-on-it'' did you fail to understand? Are you going to leave my surgery and go rock-climbing or performing handstands? Bite on this, as this may hurt!

[[folder:Film -- Live-Action]]
* This is the premise of ''Film/AnalyzeThis'': a mob boss needs a psychiatrist, who has trouble helping him because he's afraid to assert himself.

* In Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/CountToATrillion'', Menelaus can talk casually with the effective ruler of Earth. When he must be examined by a doctor, he finds it much harder to assert himself.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Madam Pomfrey asserted herself quite strongly in ''The Prisoner of Azkaban'' when authority figures wanted to speak to students in her care. And in ''Half-Blood Prince'' told Harry, who wanted to beat the crap out of the student who put him in the hospital wing, that it would qualify as over exerting himself and to stay there.
** Later, Dumbledore averts this trope when he instead goes to Snape because [[spoiler:Snape is better at curse-related magical injuries]].
* ZigZagged in ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'': The CorruptCorporateExecutive's doctors are very much aware of his Mafia connections, so they give medical advice very politely. In fact, when he sends his secretary out for celebratory cigars, she invokes this trope by trying to remind him of what the doctors said before remembering who she's talking to.
* Happens all the time in Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series. Healers commands are more or less absolute.
* There are so many times in ''Literature/WarriorCats'' when the medicine cat says "As your medicine cat, I'm ''ordering'' you to rest" or something along those lines - even when the cat they're ordering around is their Clan leader and older than them.
* In Creator/JohnHemry's Literature/TheLostFleet novel ''Invincible'', Geary orders a day of rest despite many urgent needs, because exhaustion is hampering their work efforts. He suspects that a doctor who speaks to him hasn't slept for days, including that one, and thinks of how doctors take their oaths more seriously than they do their positions as officers.
* In Creator/DanAbnett's Literature/GauntsGhosts novel ''His Last Command'', Dorden strenously resists Gaunt's orders to revive Mkoll, though he gives up in the end.
* In Creator/JimButcher's Literature/TheDresdenFiles novel ''Literature/ColdDays'', Butters gives them to Harry, who takes them more seriously than he usually takes orders, but not seriously enough for Butters's taste.
* In Creator/SeananMcGuire's ''Literature/OctoberDaye'' novels
** ''A Local Habitation'', when Toby threatens Quentin during her AfterActionPatchup, Quentin cheerfully says that Gordan won't let her get up; Gordan agrees.
** ''Ashes Of Honor'', Jin tries to force Tybalt not to stand after the AfterActionHealingDrama. When that fails, she asks him to at least try to take it easy the next few days, and he says he will bow to her wisdom. She is pleasantly surprised.
** ''Chimes At Midnight'': Jin succeeds in ordering Sylvester out of Toby's sickroom. When Toby wakes up, she is less successful about keeping her in bed.
* In Creator/JRRTolkien's ''[[Literature/TheLordOfTheRings Return of the King]]'', Faramir tells Éowyn that even if he had assumed his authority as Steward, he would be reluctant to override that of the Warden of the Houses of Healing in the matter of her health.
* In Creator/JulieKagawa's ''Literature/TheIronDaughter'', the nurse treats Ash's getting up after she treated his wounds as YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb. When Puck laughs, she turns on him and demands to stitch his wounds.
* In Richard Ellis Preston Jr.'s Literature/ChroniclesOfThePneumaticZeppelin novel ''Romulus Buckle & the Engines of War'', Romulus tells Max, while treating her injuries that she disobeyed him as her captain, but now that he's her surgeon, she has to obey him.
* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', Vimes cites this to keep people out of the Patrician's sick room. The doctor in question is actually a vet specializing in race horses.
* In Creator/HenryVogel's ''[[Literature/ScoutsHonor Scout's Law]]'', when Jade complains that she told [[spoiler:Chris]] that he's too injured to help, David puts him under her orders; when he objects that she's a civilian, David (despite her being no more than an ordinary person with a medical kit) commissions her as a medic to give her the authority.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Doc Cochrane of ''Series/{{Deadwood}}'', the surly {{Frontier|Doctor}} DrJerk and one of the few people in camp who can shout ''Al Swearengen'' down. Most of his power resides in the fact that the camp bosses are pimps who rely on Doc Conchrane to keep their prostitutes free of disease, and therefore keep the money rolling in.
* Series/DocMartin is routinely frustrated by patients ignoring his advice and doing what they want. One woman nearly killed herself trying to function with a herniated vertebra.
* Invoked in ''{{Series/Firefly}}''. When [[TokenEvilTeamMate Jayne]] tries to make a power play when Mal and Zoe get themselves (possibly) caught by the Feds, nobody wants to go along with it, but they're not strong enough to ''stop'' him. [[NonSequiturThud Then he starts talking nonsense and falls flat on his face.]] Turns out that Doctor Tam, when giving him a painkiller for a gunshot wound, gave him considerably more than was necessary to stop him from doing anything. Ironically, he only gave Jayne the painkillers because Jayne [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor ordered him to]].
* A plot point in the ''Series/HoratioHornblower'' MadeForTVMovie ''[[TheMutiny Mutiny]]'' involved the officers of the HMS ''Renown'' having to convince the ship's doctor to declare Captain Sawyer medically unfit to command due to his slipping sanity. Further complicating the issue was the fact that the doctor and Sawyer were longtime friends.
* Comes up on ''{{Series/Merlin}}''. Gaius is one of the few people who can often give Uther direction without getting in trouble, although Uther still tends to yell a lot. Granted,his advice has gone outside the medical realm a few times, again mostly to Uther telling him to get lost.
* Medical doctors in the Franchise/StargateVerse (especially Dr. Fraiser) are often given special dispensation to overrule high-ranking military officials on medical matters. As it turns out, Janet Fraiser outranks ''Hammond'' on matters medical, much to O'Neill's displeasure.
-->'''Teal'c''': Dr. Fraiser believes you are not strong enough to undertake such a mission.\\
'''O'Neill''': Yeah, whatever. ''[tries to get out of bed, immediately collapses on the floor]''\\
'''Teal'c''': ''*not changing expression*'' Dr. Fraiser is usually correct in such matters.
* Comes up sometimes in ''Franchise/StarTrek,'' where the ship's doctor has the authority to relieve the captain of command if the doctor believes the captain is physically or mentally unfit for duty.
** Such as in the ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'' episode "The Tholian Web", where Spock tells Bones to do it if he believes it proper.
** In "The Doomsday Machine", [[DeathSeeker Commodore Decker]] takes advantage of Kirk being stuck on his crippled ship to take command of the ''Enterprise'' and go after the Planet Killer to [[MobySchtick avenge his lost crew]]. Bones tries, but can't relieve him because Decker refuses to submit to an evaluation, and holds Bones and Spock to regulations that allow him pull rank. Kirk and Spock risk a court martial to finally force Decker to stand down and proceed to sickbay for his evaluation, but it never gets that far as Decker gets away from his [[RedShirt security escort]] and [[TakingYouWithMe pilots a shuttlecraft into the maw of the machine]].
** In "Allegiance" from ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' it's shown that mere suspicion isn't enough. If you don't have some hard evidence, you could be risking being charged with mutiny. Since Crusher can't find anything medically wrong with the doppelganger impersonating Picard, the crew's options are limited.
** In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', it's also pointed out that not even the commanding officer of a ship or station has the power to override the judgment of the Chief Medical Officer regarding medical matters.
** For ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' an additional wrinkle was thrown in: due to personnel losses in the first episode, the ship's doctor is a hologram. As such, the captain ''could'' just shut him down if she doesn't want to follow his orders -- or even reprogram him, as happened to his counterpart on the ''Equinox''. The problem, as touched upon in [[ResetButton one episode that didn't actually happen in the end]], is that while Janeway is ''usually'' sane enough to keep her rebellions against doctor's order to small things like dragging her feet about having check-ups, there's nothing saying that will still be the case when she is unhealthy enough that she ''should'' be relieved of command.

* In Creator/DorothyLSayers' radio play ''Radio/TheManBornToBeKing'', she put notes down for King Herod's physician: he must speak with authority, even though he's giving those orders to the king.

* ''Webcomic/DocRat''
** [[http://www.docrat.com.au/default.asp?thisItem=1116 is actually obeyed about travel socks.]]
** [[http://www.docrat.com.au/default.asp?thisItem=1770 Also about "two in the morning" -- though slightly misinterpreted.]]
* In ''Webcomic/DragonMango'', [[http://dragon-mango.com/comic/chapter03/dm03-44.htm the healer's reaction]] is "WHO TOLD YOU IT WAS OKAY TO MOVE AROUND? Now lie down and rest until I tell you you're healed?" -- and a TapOnTheHead. She defends it as "tough love."
* In ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'', [[http://exterminatusnow.co.uk/2010-11-07/comic/voiding-your-warranty/what-facility/ they cite doctor's orders, knowing even the head of the Inquisition will listen.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}'', [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff500/fv00420.htm the vet has one (1) patient who listens to him. He thinks he's ahead of some doctors.]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'',
** Dr. Sun [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080526 berates]] Baron Wulfenbach when he disobeys the doctor's orders and earlier [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20070718 called]] his request to [[PsychoForHire almost uncontrollable]] [=DuPree=] "doctor's advice" -- after all, ignoring it would be bad for her health.
** Mamma Gkika also gives Zeetha the whatfor when she finds her up and about after treatment. Zeetha promises she's not fighting. [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20130125 Later, after she has fought, she dismisses it as Mama's opinion.]]
* In ''Webcomic/GrrlPower'', [[http://www.grrlpowercomic.com/archives/316 the EMT tries to argue with Maxima.]]
* In ''WebComic/SchlockMercenary'' Doctor Bunnigus knows that Tagon will ignore her orders to rest up while he heals so she [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2010-02-14 opts to keep him sedated and put Lt. Cmdr Shodan in command]].
** Expanded upon [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2012-05-06 here]] :
-->'''Doctor Bunnigus''' : Pi, would you explain your rank relative to mine to Doctor Cikitsaka here?\\
'''Pibald''' : Yes Ma'am. We're both lieutenants without assigned troops. I do [[DemolitionsExpert explosives]], she does medical. I got [[TheParanoiac medical issues]], so she's usually bossing me around.
** In a later story arc, Tagon's father (currently Commodore of the Toughs) goes into HeroicBSOD after [[spoiler:Tagon dies]]. Doctor Bunnigus promptly declares him [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2016-09-30 unfit for duty]], declares his aide Acting Captain, and breaks out the sedatives.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimaton/StarWarsTheCloneWars'': In [[Recap/StarWarsTheCloneWarsS2E10TheDeserter "The Deserter"]], Captain Rex gets shot in the chest while on patrol. When he wakes up, he insists that Kix, the medic, just patch him up so they can get back to business. In response:
-->'''Kix:''' Sir, as the team medic, when it comes to the health of the men -- including you -- I outrank everyone. So I respectfully order you, sir, to get some-- ''[interrupted by someone entering the room]''

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In Britain where Prime Minister David Cameron was visiting a hospital, and hadn't done all the health and safety stuff. [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JapsssNVs4 The doctor, as you will not be surprised to find out, shouted down the prime minister]].
%%* There was a US Supreme Court Justice [[note]]they serve until they retire or die, whichever comes first[[/note]] who had an agreement with his doctor: he would serve until the doctor said he was getting too senile to be able to render decisions. As soon as his doctor told him that, he announced his retirement.
%%** It's most likely John Paul Stevens (age 90 at retirement in 2010). The only other Justices who have retired since 1990 are Byron White, Harry Blackmun, and William J. Brennan (who retired in the early 1990s), but they were much younger when they retired; of the three, it seems most in line with Brennan's character. It's unlikely to be David Souter (who retired before he turned 70 and famously hated living in D.C. and wanted desperately to get back to New Hampshire) or Sandra Day O'Connor (the above specifies a woman).
* Surprisingly, ''inverted'' in many places for much of history. As James Burke explains on ''[[Series/{{Connections}} The Day the Universe Changed]]'', in 18th-century France (and other places), doctors were expensive, and so if you were rich enough to afford one you would tell him your symptoms, and then he would match symptoms to a list of treatments, and you would ''choose'' which of those you wanted yourself. When Creator/BenjaminFranklin showed up in 1778 with tales of UsefulNotes/{{Philadelphia}}'s modern public health system (arguably the best in the world at the time), in which healthcare was available to all for a reasonable fee and the good citizens (the shock!) did what the doctor told them rather than the other way 'round, the intellectuals of the Paris ''salons'' were intrigued.
* The HistoryChannel documentary ''It's Good To Be The President'' devoted a good ten or so minutes to the topic of how the leader of the free world is kept in optimal health. During an interview with the Presidential Physician, the narrator/interviewer asks what standard operating procedure is when the President openly defies Doctor's Orders. The doctor gives a smile somewhere between coy and wry before he quips, "In such circumstances it is the medical professional's duty to appeal to a higher power over the patient," {{Beat}} "so in that case we advise the First Lady."