At academic medical centers, clinicians interact with a multitude of patients, families, specialists and staff every single day. With constant intercommunications in person, on the phone, by mail and via e-mail, most doctors have been confused with an associate at some point in their careers. But for a few care providers at Tufts Medical Center, being mistaken for a colleague is a much more regular occurrence.
Same Name, Different Doc
Chief of Plastic Surgery Daniel N. Driscoll, MD and Medical Director of Tufts Medical Center Primary Care—Quincy Daniel F. Driscoll, MD have never crossed paths. But each physician has been well aware of the other for quite some time.
“About 25 years ago, when I was working at South Boston Community Health Center, I received a call from the Radiology Department at one of the other Boston academic medical centers,” said Daniel F. Driscoll. “They told me to return the x-rays right away or they would dock my pay. At first I had no idea what they were talking about—I didn’t have any x-rays. But then I realized they were looking for another physician in Boston with the same name.”
Years later, while working at a different Boston hospital, Daniel F. Driscoll was pulled aside by a high-ranking executive, who scolded him for his referral practices. “She asked me why I was sending so many patients for surgery at Tufts Medical Center,” he said. “I had to politely explain to her that she had mistaken me for another doctor in town!”
Both physicians’ offices commonly receive phone calls intended for the other Daniel Driscoll and their staff know exactly where to redirect the bewildered caller.
On one occasion, Daniel N. Driscoll was woken up at 2 a.m. by a phone call about one of Daniel F. Driscoll’s patients. “There are not too many people seeking plastic surgery at that time of night,” mused Daniel N. Driscoll. “But I’m sure he also gets plenty of calls from people looking for enhancements or reductions!”
To further complicate the matter, the President and CEO of Neponset Health Center in Dorchester is named Daniel J. Driscoll, and Emerson Hospital in Concord employs an orthopaedic surgeon named Donald Driscoll, MD, who is a graduate of Tufts University School of Medicine and completed his residency at Tufts MC.
“I remember one time my father tried to reach me at work, but accidentally called Daniel J. Driscoll instead,” said Daniel F. Driscoll. “He was so confused and asked who was calling. My dad responded, ‘This is your father!’ I can only imagine the look on both their faces!”
At this point in their careers, both physicians are well-accustomed to being mistaken for each other; name mix-ups, like practicing medicine, run in the family. Daniel F. Driscoll’s father was a pediatrician on the South Shore for decades, while Daniel N. Driscoll’s father was a family practitioner on the North Shore for more than 40 years.
Do You See What I Hear?
In 2009, about a year after joining Tufts MC as an optometrist working out of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, Kristen Lamoreau, OD, was surprised to begin receiving departmental e-mails from Otolaryngology (ENT).
“For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why ENT was sending me all these messages,” said Dr. Lamoreau. “I thought maybe they put me on their listserve because they wanted me to refer them patients.”
As it turned out, the e-mails were not intended for Lamoreau, but instead were supposed to be going to newly-hired Audiologist Kristy Lamoureux, AuD, CCC-A.
“Kristen received all of my e-mails for that first year I worked at Tufts MC,” said Dr. Lamoureux. “I think she knew more about what was happening in Audiology than I did!”
They ran into another issue two years later, when both Dr. Lamoreau and Dr. Lamoureux were pregnant at the same time, with due dates one month apart.
“Every time I called HR with questions about my maternity leave, short-term disability and sick time, they thought I was Kristy.” said Dr. Lamoreau. “Of course, it’s even harder to tell the difference between our names on the phone.”
Dr. Lamoreau and Dr. Lamoureux have never have met in person, but they have become quite familiar with each other’s e-mail and office addresses from passing along mail sent to the wrong specialist. After more than five years of being mistaken for each other, the doctors take the mix-ups in stride.
“To this day, my patients still receive appointment reminders in the mail for ‘Kristen Lamoureux,’” said Dr. Lamoureux. “But as long as my patients don’t show up in Kristen’s clinic, or vice versa, we don’t complain!”