Nominative Determinism in the Medical World

Mari Stoddard maintains a list of examples, from the medical world, of nominative determinism. “Nominative determinism” is the intentionally inflated name for a common phenomenon: some people work at professions that harmonize with their family name. Examples from the Stoddard list are these three doctors in the field of Emergency Medicine:

Dr Pulse, Dr Borer; Dr Cure, Dr Gore

(Thanks to Rick Vetter for bringing the Stoddard list to our attention.)

The phrase “nominative determinism” comes from our old friend and collaborator John Hoyland, who created and for decades wrote the “Feedback” column in New Scientist magazine. When John died, a few years ago, we published this: “Sad news: John Hoyland, father of “nominative determinism”, is gone“.