Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mr. Doctor or Dr. Doctor?

Look at the trouble Judge Mahoney had in getting an answer to a simple question. The exchange is published in Part 7 of the transcript for the December 15 hearing in Federal Court in Rockford, in Seipler v. Cundiff et al. To read it, go to

"THE COURT: All right. Now, number one, you still have the right to do any discovery that you want. Number two, things have popped up in this case. That’s why I’ve tried to talk to you before. Who is Dr. Meyer and in your opinion how does he fit into this case?

MR. SOTOS: Dr. Meyer is a doctor who examined plaintiff after he was in a shooting incident.

THE COURT: Psychologist?

MR. SOTOS: He shot somebody, and then he was –

THE COURT: Ph.D. doctor or medical?


THE COURT: Ph.D. doctor.

MR. SOTOS: Psychologist.

THE COURT: All right. ..."

All Judge Mahoney wanted to know whether Meyer was Mr. Doctor or Dr. Doctor. He wanted to know if Meyer is a psychologist or a psychiatrist. And he finally found out.

For years I have resisted the claim to "Dr." for non-medical doctorates. If a person was awarded a Ph.D. in Music or Nuclear Science, should he called "Dr." So-and-so? For me, the answer is "No." For me (old school), "Dr." is reserved for medical doctors, osteopaths and dentists.

Did "Mr. Dr." Meyer examine Seipler or did he "interview" him? Do psychologists "examine" people? They aren't "patients". Doctors see patients. Psychologists see clients.

Now, Doctor, Mr. M.D. ... look what I found... from 1966 on the Ed Sullivan Show:


Whitmore2 said...

In the world of academica, PhD's of any sort are called Doctor. I thought you lived in a campus town in Colorado? I guess not...

Nowadays, it's very common for psychologists to be called Doctor if they have their PhD or PsyD, to distinguish themselves apart from the many, many, many counselors that have Masters degrees.

Dr. Meyer used to work at Centegra. Then, for some reason, he abruptly left. Nobody was allowed to talk about it. Centegra would not forward his number or any information about him. Those left behind were raising eyebrows, but I never did get the whole story about that. 6 months later, he's at the Mathers Clinic.

Some folks are very resilient.

PS He often testifies on behalf of the Defendant as well.

Gus said...

Thanks. Of course, they like to be called Doctor. I'd like to be called "Dr.", too. Maybe I'll change my name legally to Doctor Philpott. (probably not)

Or King. Or Sheriff. Or Deputy. All great first names.

Another word that is mis-used is "campus." For me, a campus is where a school is; not where a corporate headquarters is located, or a hospital. OK, OK, I'm picky.

Notawannabee said...

Gus, in a way I agree with you...mark it down!

When I was in college, my daddy used to say. Son, first you get your BS degree. That’s for Bull Shit.

Then you'll get your MS degree. That for More of the Same or More Shit

Then if you stay in academia long enough you'll get your PhD which is Piled High and Deep..

I rest my case.