His doctor to be contacted. OR His doctor is to be contacted.

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Which sentence is correctly written? Thank you

  • His doctor to be contacted if her blood pressure drops
  • His doctor is to be contacted if her blood pressure drops

For this case, it might be a bit confusing. However, the correct form of the sentence should be #2:

  • “His doctor is to be contacted if her blood pressure drops”

 

The reason for your confusion might be the use of the passive voice here. Instead of saying who is doing the contacting, the subject of the action is completely left out. For that reason, it seems that these sentence have no clear verb.

However, you can imagine that you are a nurse or a family member waiting with someone who has been in some sort of hospital emergency. They are monitoring that person’s blood pressure, which should be stable now.

If that changes and the pressure drops, however, a doctor needs to be called immediately. You could rearrange the sentence to say that you are the subject in the following ways:

  • Please contact his doctor if his blood pressure drops.
  • You should contact his doctor if his blood pressure drops.

 

In both of these examples, the thing you need is much clearer, so you will not be left wondering what the problem was.

Another note that you should know is that your example sentences have an inconsistency: the use of “his” and “her”. It seems as if your patient is a man because of the phrase “his doctor”. However, you then say “her blood pressure”.

Unless the doctor needs to be contacted if the doctor is a woman and the doctor’s own blood pressure is the one that drops, there is a mistake there.

This sentence is heavily context-dependent, but can definitely be correct. Consider:

Her husband’s doctor is to be contacted if her blood pressure drops.
His doctor is to be contacted if her blood pressure drops.

There is, as you mentioned, the alternative interpretation that “her” refers to “his doctor”, but I think using the verb “contact” definitely establishes that the doctor is unaware of the situation (which she wouldn’t be if it was her own blood pressure that dropped).

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