A mum has slammed a ‘sexist’ surgeon who wrote in a letter that her husband had ‘manfully stepped in’ to take his own daughter to a hospital appointment.

Outraged parents Jo and Billy Martin, from Chorley, were sent the letter two weeks after Billy took three-year-old daughter Jessica for an appointment at Royal Preston.

In the letter, the paediatric surgeon wrote: “Unfortunately her mum could not be at the clinic visit today as she has not been well and father stepped in manfully.”

The couple were so shocked they shared the letter on social media, branding the consultant’s choice of words ‘sexist’ and claim they could not imagine him using ‘womanfully’ in the same context, shares Daily Mail.

Mum-of-three Jo, who had planned to take Jessica to the appointment but was unwell, now claims she has been made to feel guilty for missing it.

Jo, 33, said: “My husband went instead but the consultant did not know that I was the one who was supposed to be taking her.
“As far as he should be concerned fathers and mothers should have equal responsibility for taking their children to hospital appointments.

“I couldn’t take her because I was ill and was already distressed about not being there.”

The freelance typist said the appointment had gone well and they received the letter a couple of weeks later.

Jo said: “The first time I read it I read it out loud and I was like ‘what? Surely I read that wrong’. I was shocked. I thought they can’t have put that. It’s ridiculous.

“It is terrible. It’s so sexist.

“It’s like when people say ‘dad is babysitting’. No, he’s not babysitting if they are his children.

“It’s assuming that women are there to do the childcare and men will step in when the woman is not available which is really sexist in my opinion.

“Stepping in ‘manfully’. What does that mean? Would I have done it ‘womanfully’?

“I could not believe it when I read it. I don’t know what the consultant was thinking.

“It was just a case of being a parent. If one is incapable for whatever reason the other will step in – it’s what you do as a parent.

“We are both responsible for caring for the children, that’s how we do it here. We both do as much as we can. There is no ‘this is your job’, it’s what needs doing gets done.”

dr note

‘I think it’s important to highlight it as I don’t think anyone should receive a letter like that.

‘It made me feel guilty because I hadn’t been well and could not attend the appointment and it was like they were pointing it out.

‘Then I was thinking why should I feel guilty? Her dad has the same amount of responsibility for Jessica as I do.’

MoM shares

Oh gosh, this does bug me too. I was only talking about something similar that happened to a friend recently.

I have noticed over the years with the numerous doctor visits we have had for our Heartkid that some of the older generation of doctor’s are very sexist.

I can be the one asking the questions and providing the details but yet they still seem to only address my husband with their response.

Frustrates me so much!

Surely they can see in today’s world that both parents are very involved in their kids lives, health problems included.

Have you ever experienced anything similar?

Share your comments below.

Image via Daily Mail


  • I’ve never known anyone to receive a letter for taking their child to a doctor or a specialist. A child is the parents responsibility and if they can’t go and get another family member to keep the appointment to me that is just being a responsible parent.


  • Some doctors are just insensible…. I took my son as his legs were turned inwards to a specialist after months of waiting and he said “we don’t have to do anything.. WHEN OTHER KIDS MAKE FUN OF Him HE Will correct himself”….


  • Well there is someone who lacks common sense.


  • Why a letter? This is a seemingly ridiculous situation where these comments should not have been said, let alone put in writing.


  • Have no idea why the letter was sent in the first place. Seems to be completely irrelevant.


  • I don’t know why this should have been in the letter in the first place. Surely all that was relevant was that a parent was with her.


  • Probably not a very good thing to say but seriously, to get so worked up over it, just move on and get over it.


  • Seriously, the word ‘manfully’ was not needed to complete that sentence. Attending a child’s appointment is called being a parent, in the same way that a father looking after his child is also being a parent and is not ‘babysitting’.

    Gender stereotyping at it’s best.


  • Drs do have their opinion on what they think. I did receive a letter, think it was meant for the Doctor who sent me to the other doctor, expressing how dare he send an obese woman to him for a procedure. Had others like that for different reasons, just different doctors either thinking they are above us or do not have good patient skills.


  • Certain Doctors are, how can I put it, not particularly fluent in English …. this could have just been a case of identifying what they thought to be a suitable word but without understanding correct grammar has used it in the wrong context ….


  • Really. Unfortunate comment but not worth getting upset over, or posting on social media. Doctors have enough stress. Reply privately and give them a break.


  • Seriously!? If that is their biggest issue in life they are blessed – there are people facing real challenges out there and they are worried over the wording of a letter? Get over it! The article doesn’t tell us if it was a young or older dr so who knows if that is the language the dr usually uses. Stop being so sensitive people! Don’t let something like that spoil your day – just move on!

    • Doctors are routinely direct and it is an approach that I appreciate – but it does indeed have the possibility of offending some people.


  • Everyone parents differently, maybe this doctor doesn’t have the personal experience of sharing these tasks. I wouldn’t make a big deal of this really.


  • Note would not bother me and I would not feel any guilt – parenting is a partnership. Poor choice of words for these parents to read and they should address them with the doctor. It is the only way any change will be made for their future interactions.


  • The doctor’s note l would take no notice of what so ever!


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