Blake Snow

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Tagged doctors

I like doctors who don’t call themselves “doctors”

I’ve recently corresponded with a woman who insists on being called “doctor.” As the principal of an elementary school, I’m told she asks her students and others to call her “doctor” as well. To further complicate matters, she goes by a hyphenated last name, so basically she insists on being called by three different names, instead of—ya know—just one like everybody else.

It’s awkward.

Contrast that with the man who raised me, my outstanding father. He went by Brent both professional and personally his entire life, even after getting his PhD. He rose the ranks in higher education and eventually become the second in command at a big university in Texas. But he always went by Brent. No fancy salutation needed.

Last month I met an accomplished woman named “Jen” who earned multiple Ivy League degrees from USC, Berkeley, and a PhD from Princeton. She works for National Geographic and is as accomplished as they come, yet as humble as ever. She simply goes be “Jen” and lets her work do the talking (instead of a salutation).

My family practitioner is the same. He goes by Aaron.

I could be wrong, but I suspect the first woman got a PhD to feel good about herself. She uses it as a reminder that she’s important. For whatever reason, she seemingly has confidence issues. Or maybe she feels the everyday world should validate the extra years of college she went to with a special salutation. “I’ve earned it!”

I wouldn’t call this woman a bad principal by any means. But I understand her insecurities and childish mannerisms have negatively affected some aspects of the school, which is a shame.

There are better and far easier ways to feel good about yourself. Getting a PhD isn’t one of them.

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Remember when the doctor said my kid had brain cancer?


“I don’t mean to alarm you, but she may have brain cancer.”

That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever heard as a parent. Uttered to me by a confused pediatrician after failing to diagnose my two year-old daughter for the umpteenth time, the sentence dashed my hopes and struck fear in me like no other.

It started like this. Two weeks prior, my daughter began vomiting in her sleep. Curiously, she would upchuck like clockwork — three hours after bed. After a few days, she begin dropping weight. Her eyes sunk in. She looked sicker than any of my children had before.  Continue reading…

Blame “important” doctors for your cell phone abuse

cell phone rubber bandI wrote on article on cell phone abuse, to be published on GigaOM, and was unable to use the following, which I thought was rather insightful:

“When cell phones were first introduced, they were expensive and obtrusive,” says Dr. Lisa Merlo, professor of psychology at the University of Florida. “As a result, the people who had them and used them did so for ‘important’ reasons. For example, physicians might have a cell phone while on-call. So, people excused the rudeness associated with talking on a cell phone because there was a legitimate reason for doing so. However, cell phones have become ubiquitous, and the rules have not changed to accommodate this.”

Continue reading…