Fictional doctors are essentially solitary figures, and relatively few of them enjoy a normal family life. Like traditional celibate priests, many practitioners of medicine (mostly men) are portrayed as unencumbered by families. Those who have wives and partners chose them badly and treat them badly. A medical degree is a hindrance rather than a help when it comes to communicating with teenage children. Even happy families have to remain out of sight while the doctor ‘serves at the altar of Asclepios’.