“Call me ‘Doctor'”

The other day I heard a story about a women in her nineties who was receiving palliative care.

This woman, it was told, “had never before insisted on ceremony.”

She was not the kind of person who would have had her academic credentials in her Twitter handle.

She did not ordinarily expect anyone to use her professional titles.

However, for the first time in her life, when she was receiving care much later in life, she asked to be called “Doctor.”

She was a not a medical doctor, but she had earned a doctorate in some other subject.

And the reason why she wanted to be called “Doctor” only now was because she intuited that it would make a difference for how she would be treated and the kind of care she would receive.

This is a common and striking phenomenon and reminds me of this story about Dr. Harvey Chochinov:

Continue reading

Canadian Student Discovers his Online Course is Taught by a Deceased Professor

This evening over dinner, my friend and housemate shared a news story from a month ago about a university student in Montreal who was surprised to discover that his current art history professor had, in fact, already been deceased for two years.

Aaron Ansuini had been following an online course through Concordia University when he Googled the professor to find his email address but instead found his obituary.

The university says the prerecorded material was in no way meant to be deceptive. Nevertheless, the student’s Twitter thread recounting his surprise amassed hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets.

He wrote:

Continue reading