ATLANTA, GA – The lead article in this month’s Journal of Pediatric Critical Care started with a few simple observations.

“I had two patients in my ICU simultaneously,” said lead author Dr. Jessica Kantor.  “Both were hypoplastic left hearts.  Both septic.  But Carrie pulled through and little Khyrri did not.”

The mutated second “n” carries a poor prognosis

Collaborator Dr. Mitchell Wilson agreed.  “My index cases, so to speak, were newborn twins: Mason and Maddyyssinn.  The little girl got an especially rip-roaring case of disseminated meningococcemia while her brother did fine.  We determined later on that Maddyyssinn had an especially troubling mutation, a tandem repeat where the offensive sequence is duplicated and re-inserted, which portends a particularly bad prognosis.”

Their insights led to collaboration.  10,000 charts from across 10 leading pediatric hospitals were analyzed to determine how mutant spellings predict outcomes.  And the findings were uniformly chilling: the more mutations the orthography had accumulated, the more aggressive the disease.  Among their insights:

– Some mutations lead to letter substitutions: say, a letter C becomes a K.  Researchers termed these “nonsense mutations” since they violate common laws of phonics.  Examples include Kourtney or Jacksyn.

– Some were called “inversion mutations” where the original naming elements were placed backwards, as in Nevaeh or Legna.

– A particularly troubling phenomenon was described where the name sucked up phonetic elements from the environment and incorporated it into its own sequence, much like a phage.  This usually involved the apostrophe.  For example: Ja’mes or Di’amonique.  (Editor’s note: this was not a risk factor for children of Irish or Native Hawai’ian decent.)

– Most insidious of all were the translocations, where two separate name elements were unnaturally combined.  Most of these appeared to involve the sound “ay” and the ending “en.”  For example: Zayden, Kaylen, Jayzen, Hayven, or Maysen.)

– The letter Y was an independent predictor of mortality.

– Ironically the ‘dash‘, as in D-ah (Dedasha), actually had little effect, but hospital staff, all future teachers, bosses, and anyone reading their name, mispronounced it 100% of the time and on follow up those children typically used their middle name.  Most likely why the mutation had little effect.

Drs. Kantor and Wilson are optimistic about the applicability of their study.  “In this era of personalized genomic medicine, it should be easy to develop a predictive score of name mutation rate to apply to all pediatric critical care patients.  I hope the Predictive Hospital Outcomes Nursing and Intensivist Critical Score [PHONICS] is soon used at the bedside worldwide.”

PICU nurse Chantal Jackson is overjoyed to hear the results and will put them into use immediately.  “This study validates what I’ve been feeling for years.  Every morning I check my assignments.  If I get a Michael or a Destiny, I think they’ve got a fighting chance.  Mykal or Dystinii, better call palliative care.”



  • Show Comments

  • Kimberly Sykes

    My favorite part is reading the comments of people who don’t get SATIRE. Never fails to amuse.

  • Ernest Joseph Roberts

    We should be receptive to the directives of community organizers and social engineers who have done so much to lower the crime rate and raise standards of behavior.

  • HarryTheCat

    I once worked with a woman who was, unfortunately, named “Weeda Peoples”. And no, she wasn’t a member of a minority group. I also knew a “Helen Hunt”, as in the old joke — if you want something, go to Helen Hunt for it.

  • guest

    I knew a girl in high school who was named Sation. Her last name was Converse and middle name was peace. On legal documents her name was Converse Sation Peace. Her parents were white. I have a cousin named Thankful. A cousin named Seasons Blessings. And a cousin named Pleasants. My cousins are white, their parents are very much in love with old English and puritanical names. I knew a Whinter, pronounced winter, who was black buti have a white cousin who is named Sommer. Odd names are not a racial thing. They reflect people. The parents who sat at my table when I waitressed at olive garden probably should have thought twice about naming their child Hannibal but names reflect the person we want our children to be. In all cultures we have unique names and spellings of those names. Micheal has not always been spelled like that. We have only grown accustomed to that spelling because it is the Anglican way of spelling it. That being said, I actually found this article hysterical:)

  • Casca

    Or Condyloma if it’s spelled correctly

  • Guest

    I believe we are in agreement (see also: sarcasm).

  • Cheryl in France

    where on earth did you get the impression that race had anything to do with this? Most of the cited names are the kind of crap that trailer park people do bc they think it’s ‘classy’.
    (yes, I know the article is satire- I wonder if your comment is as well…)

  • jack

    There are enough crazy white folks who give their children bizarre names! and I’m not white!

  • Matt

    Actually, satire is a method of covertly mocking the system. So the opposite of what you said is true. Try harder.

  • Stuart Koehl

    I agree. You should make fun of them to their faces, so that they will stop giving their children dumb ass names that will handicap them through life, even if they manage to survive the higher risk of mortality.

  • Nordog6561

    I wonder how Corolla and Tercel will do if they get sick.

  • Splash

    assuming this article is about black people is racist and offensive.

  • mahopinion

    Actually, true. I did have a patient with the name of La-A. I also had a Femalea and Maleb . The mother had twins and thought the hospital had named the babies because of the designations on their arm bands Female A and Male B).

  • staghounds

    Why are you giving (upper-class, largely white) advice?

    Maybe you should try (medically-relevant, largely useful) advice instead.

  • mahopinion

    Go suck a bag of dicks

  • Seola

    BTW, the writer would never have satisfied people like you because even though the majority of these names are found in WHITE families, daring mention any black name (of urban legend mind you) is racist… but if they hadn’t mentioned a “black sounding” name, then you’d be saying they excluded them because they are racist, assuming they can’t afford medical care or some other BS.

    You’ll find race, no matter what and argue about it where none exists. If you can’t argue about it being there, you’ll argue about it not being there.

  • Seola

    Which part is racist? The inclusion of an urban legend? Or the fact they listed more than a dozen names typically found in white races and dare mention one stereotype of a black naming phenomenon?

  • Seola

    You should be interested then in the research on names in resumes that also include (but you probably won’t since you obviously can’t help but toss out some white guilt) that people with one syllable names do better than those with 2, who do better than those with 3, etc. as a single syllable name gives an impression of power.

    You’d probably be irked to know that a Juan has better chances than a Charlie (which reminds people subconsciously of Charlie Brown – child-like), while the top resume name getters are Joe, John, James/Jim, Pat (for either sex actually), Mike, etc. That Michael actually gets less responses than Mike?

    Thus, longer phonetic names that are typically found in your “omg, racism” argument actually fall into several categories of hindrance that has nothing to do with race – including an HR person who would be embarrassed to call someone and not get their name right (names spelled very differently but easily read phonetically get more hits than names that are impossible to decipher in English of ANY race) and so forth. That it had more to do with a feeling of being WRONG than a feeling of being racist, which is a sign of weakness. Asian names were the blip in which two syllables tended to get more hits than most of ANY race – because of their well-earned reputation for hard work. You know they aren’t superior racially, they are superior CULTURALLY. If you are a doctor, I’m sad for your patients that you have so little understanding of the whole of your patients of varying types and what REALLY is involved in their lives instead of spouting the same RACIST (yes, racist) tripe that automatically puts you on defense for all your “poor, black patients with their horrible names”.

    I guess you only “see studies” which you want to see to perpetuate the constantly nagging “OMG EVERYONE is RACIST” stereotype (seriously, your response has to come from a flyer somewhere I don’t know about because it’s so dang verbatim of a tired, disproved argument). To advance a viewpoint – especially one as a medical professional – without ever even looking deeper into the very study you cite makes me seriously question your ability to do your own job. Do you still give Jayne’s Vermifuge or did you accept future studies that showed it was a poor option and accept the “study” that it was superior and refuse to look deeper?

  • guest

    Matter of opinion. As someone else pointed out, many of these unusual names come from white people who are not necessarily poor. Ali needs to stop with the racist classist implications and enjoy the satire.

  • guest

    This page is not about you.

  • Hmm

    lies, that’s a classic joke

  • guest

    My sister in law is a school nurse in Chicago, and one of her patients was named “La-a” (prononounced Ladasha)

  • mahopinion

    What defines poor satire is a matter of taste.

  • 1captainhooker1

    My wife teaches. Last year she had 3 Ray/Rhea Lynn’s <-my spelling. All three of them spelled their names differently and none of the three used the convention spelling.

    This is not a racial phenomenon. It's very widespread, especially in the South, it seems, where a conscious effort toward "cute" names has reached epidemic levels.

  • Guest123

    I agree with Ali – the piece is somewhat racist… At the very least it exhibits a troubling classism. I’m a WASP and even I can plainly see that. Calling it satire doesn’t mean it’s not in poor taste.

  • joey

    Why you got to play the race card? You never heard of a white boy with a weird spelling name? Probably not since your head is too far up your ass to see.

  • Zornorph

    Most of those naming tropes are not generally associated with black people. The ‘D-ah’ one is, but nobody ever actually named their child La-a and the unneeded apostrophie one is as well. But the other ones – the Jayden, Kaden type names, the backward names like Neveah and the stupid changing of letters are mostly done by white people – many of them upper class ones who want their baby’s name to be ‘unique’.
    I think people don’t think enough about what it’s like to live with one of those weird names. You cite the study about resumes – if you know that, why wouldn’t you name your child Michael as opposed to M’kal (which sounds Kryptonian now that I look at it)?

  • Kim Martin

    In a recent class, I had a Hayley, a Haleigh, a Hailey and a Haylie.

  • Guest

    You can get satire and also consider it poor satire. That’s an honest critique, not a lack of understanding.

  • Guest

    And we all know the best satire comes from a system mocking those it has traditionally marginalized the most.

  • tara.s

    Pretty racist of you to think only “poor, black patients” are the ones with uncoventional names. I have seen plenty of well off, black patients; poor, white patients; and many other races/ecionomic statused patients with “mutated names”. Maybe you ought to get down off your high horse.

  • Patrick

    Mikal just looks like a stereotypical eastern european or scandinavian first name.

  • Val

    Yes it is satire, but the above reader has a very valid comment. People WILL take offense and get angry or hurt. I have been teased thoughtlessly and it still hurts.

  • Jennifer Moore

    This was awesome.

  • Carroll Wiebe

    Andrea Sereda

  • mahopinion

    I love it when people don’t get satire.

  • Cashew Ricker

    Nicole Kane Knepper, this is one of my human’s biggest pet peeves. (In all of your free time, lol, she thought it might make you laugh too)

  • Kristin Robbins

    love. yours, Crystyn

  • Karina Yusim


  • Jo Gardner

    Laurie Abbott

  • C Jones

    My white upperclass commercial pilot brother named my nephew Mikal so that blows your theory out of the water. So sorry to burst your superiority complex bubble.

  • Julian Bowen

    Summar Bowen Kate Holtzman

  • Alice Adamson

    Karen Chandler Tracey Bradbury Carolyn Marlow

  • Sara Hammond

    hehehehee so true :)

  • Elizabeth Jane Welch

    Jess Keegin

  • Ken Tegtmeyer, MD

    All Peds know it! Best website ever

  • Scott Rylie

    I completely agree with the potential risks these names carry and also find irony in the fact that they mock spelling yet misspelled descent in the post. Well played Gomerblog. Well played.

  • Loraine Solis

    Stephanie Marie

  • MC

    Wow, you just grouped yourself as the powerful! Can I be in your group?

  • Guest

    Every name in every race and ethnicity have awful names. My people of Filipino decent are try to be creative but growing up in America, it is a total fail.

  • guest

    This page is satire. Lighten up.

  • Courtney Romero Sanford

    Wow! This goes double for speech language impairments! If the speech therapist struggles with the name, call in reinforcements!

  • April Murrieta

    LMAO love it!

  • Trisha McCreight

    That’s hysterical and luckily my name choices are not listed :)

  • ali

    I’m really sorry to spoil the fun. But it deeply troubles me that as pediatricians we rarely question the undertones of things we say offhandedly. How can we expect our poor, black patients and parents to trust our (upper-class, largely white) advice when we make fun of them behind their backs? It is really disappointing, and in its own small way fails the ‘justice’ tenet of medical ethics. People have had the system fail them so many times: poor schools, poor job prospects due simply to racism/classism (see studies of the same resume sent out with “black” vs “white” names), history of unethical experimentation (Tuskegee and others), police brutality and violence. And we contribute to disparities by our indifference and subtle racism. Any true discrepancy in outcomes should be a cause for sorrow, not laughter. We, the powerful, have cheap laughs at the expense of those who face real and terrible hardships? It is deeply disappointing.

  • Melissa Bermes Koerner

    Jerry Koerner – I knew there was a link!!!!!

  • Ashley Ford

    Lol struggled with several of these ridiculous names this week!

  • Theresa Tomich

    Is this for real?

  • Lee Harper

    You can’t imagine the hair pulling fit they have at the airport trying to buy tickets. Refused on line due to ridiculous names! Yes, both my grandchildren!

  • Beth-Ann Bloom

    Sadly this “phenomena” likely reflects the socioeconomic status of the family. Poor families with little future hope are more likely to give their babies mutated names. These babies have more sociodemographic risks for every condition.

  • Abi Bi

    El próximo se llamará Teno. Está salvado…

  • Debbi Marizzaldi

    Soo funny!

  • Julie Sunderman


  • Olivia Hatcher


  • Iriana Telerín

    Abi Bi

  • Kelly Mc

    This is probably the most accurate article I’ve seen. We’ve all the hunch about this bad prognostic sign for years.

  • Mike Franklin

    The opposite is true at my institution

  • Leslie Crawford Koenig

    Laughing like an idiot in the DMV reading this!

  • Chance Gearheart

    Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a positive correlation between children named “Dalastone” and future pregnancies. I’d like to propose studying this on a Caribbean island somewhere. I think I’ll need about a million for initial funding.

  • Clare Calogero


  • Clare Calogero


  • Emma Costello

    Carolyn an important development in paediatrics!

  • Emma Costello

    Carolyn an important development in paediatrics!

  • Siddharth Mushrif


  • Siddharth Mushrif


  • Elena Clifford

    John Curti

  • Elena Clifford

    John Curti

  • Sarah Carney Bilek

    Mary Lawson Carney

  • Lisa Gundersen

    very, very clever!

  • Carol Mayer Lee


  • Sherard Maine

    Sargun Maine

  • Malcolm Forbes


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