What’s in a name?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.”

– Juliet, from William Shakespeare’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’

I wonder if the Bard ever had the same problem? I wonder if anyone suffers my pain? I really should have seen it coming. As soon one starts a full-time job and start earning an income, mail tends to start flowing in more and more. I suppose with a profession like medicine, you would also expect to get a higher quantity too. What with the extra subscriptions, drug company letters, results, specialist replies, of course there would be abundantly more scope for your name to be misspelt. Now if you are from Poland, Wales or even Uzbekistan, I would grant you a few wrong names on letters.

Mispelleth thine nom

But I thought that ‘Considine’ would be safe. It is an old Irish surname from the County Clare region of western Ireland. Yes that is the same Irish surname that the actor Paddy goes by. The actor who gets shot at the train station in Bourne Ultimatum and plays my favourite character in Hot Fuzz (pretty much just for this one shot). A brief history of my family if you will allow. The clan came to Australia in the 1850s looking for gold. Evidently they didn’t find any or spent it all before we got the rewards. The line that I descend from, made its way to northern Victoria with my great-grandfather working on the railroads around Wycheprrof and Birchip. My grandfather lived in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne and played cricket for Victoria and football for the Hawks. Since then our family lived in the Croydon area. Having since moved to South Australia and studying in Adelaide, I’ve been asked if I am related to the Mount Gambier Considines. Im guessing that from Ballarat in the gold rush days, half went east and the other half west. Good choice forebears, I couldn’t imagine following the Crows. Collingwood? Much better.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway. Gerard Considine. Not a hard one to stuff up you’d think. Yes, yes, its true I tend to go by ‘Gerry’ so that I avoid the Gerard Depardieu pronunciation. But I have found that Gerry can be mistaken for the USA spelling (Springer/Seinfeld) or WW2 era German derogatory term (side note, I like on the wiki page that they point out that ‘Rhine Monkey’ is an offensive way of referring to one from German extraction). Since starting general practice training however, I have had all sorts of spellings of my name across my desk. Some understandable, some bizarre, some even gender confused. Friends on Facebook can’t believe that any of them are true.

Listed for you now are each of these. And under each grand example of my name in all kinds of permutations, you will find some of the comments that have been posted on the old Facebook with each pic. And to think, it all started with Australian Prescriber in 2011…..


The next was the first of 2012 and has probably been the worst spelling of my name yet. Granted, it was from the Insure FOBT kits.

AND NOT ONCE, BUT TWICE….COME ON INSURE!! DO YOU WANT GERALD TO SEND YOU A LETTER????! (at least they are getting a little closer…)

“foreign work experience kid.”

“they spelt Dr correctly!”


The next was a faulty caption from IMVS, apparently this happens to other people as well.

“Hahaha!!! Oh that is GOLD!!”

“Pffft don’t try to cover ur sexy alter ego. We now know the truth Geraldine.”

“I told you the heels would cause confusion!”

“That Is my friends name! And she is also dr! Why are you getting her mail?” “Its not her mail Britt, they are my patients!”


Seems as though radiology firms are jumping on the bandwagon too


A random email one morning in 2012, didn’t have the heart to reply to say that my parents were in Year 2 in 1968….

“Youre aging well dude!”

“Wow! This name thing is hilarious!!”

“Awww little Norma thought she found a long lost friend :(”

“Ba ha ha.. If you’re actually Geraldine that answers a few questions.. Ha ha ha.. Gold.”

“Lol these are just so funny Gerry/Geraldine!”

“Aw you found a friend! 😉 embrace the Geraldine!”


Again this next one was understandable being a specialist reply letter from Whyalla:

“Your name seriously gets messed up a lot! That’s crazy!”

“You need to start an album called “mail for Gerry” and post all these in there. It will be an internet phenominon”

“Dr Geraldo Constantine, Doctor of subwoofers and burnouts…”

“If you are fully sick, visit Dr. G. Constantine. He will set you right mate.”

“I saw an obit in the Chiacgo paper for Mrs Geraldine Considine today. Now you’re dead , too”

“Getting closer?”

“Precisely HOW HARD is your name?? It’s not like it’s from a country where vowels have been outlawed due to communism!!”

“Thats hilarious,how long will this go on?”

“Gerry, I can’t get enough of this, keep it coming! I get excited every time you post a new one just to see what it says!”

“What’s the address of that PO box? I need to send a postcard to Jerry Cansidyne”


Then came the clincher. Even the practice that I had been working in for 4 months couldn’t get it right…..

“Really? Oh dear..”


“Jerry, Jerry, Jerry”

…..lucky that it was so easily fixed.


In mid 2012, I thought we’d finally broken through to the masses. My name was right. Tick. Address were correct. Tick. Now to the greeting, oh……wait…

“I have never really thought it would be so hard to get your name right!”

“it never gets old, I still laugh just as much every time haha”


Ahhh Adelaide Pathology Partners….please step in, join the club!


Even the place that I spent my first 2 years as a doctor (and department that hosted my first intern placement) gets my name wrong….for shame SCOOP program


And so it continues, this one in mid August 2012 from a Royal Adelaide Hospital ACAT letter:




Of course these are deliberate, still makes the post office in Wudinna wonder about how well my family knows me:

My sister, Kathryn

My own mother has been caught up in the excitement and submitted her own take on this sad state of affairs:

This last one will stay at the bottom of the page. Not because it is the worst spelling of Considine. Not because it is the most recent. And not even because its written in terrible, terrible (looks like a chicken has walked through it) scrawly handwriting. It is because this Express Post envelope was mailed by my very own Dad. Unfortunately no wikipedia page for him yet. Plus it looks as though he actually was going to misspell ‘Gerard’ even without trying. Cheers Tim!









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