Editors' Pick

Doctors with the Best Names

Dr. Lawrence A. Brain, Dr. Ronald Footer, Dr. Charles Mess Jr.

Dr. Lawrence A. Brain, child and adolescent psychiatrist. “Sometimes little kids are a bit apprehensive about my name, wondering if it means I can read their mind,” says Brain, who practices with the Woodmont Psychiatric Group in Bethesda. “I tell them, ‘No, it’s just my name.’ Many years ago, when I did my psychiatric training in a hospital, there was a Dr. Looney on staff, and I remember a woman once said, ‘I know I’m getting better because I’ve gone from Dr. Looney to Dr. Brain.’ ”

Dr. Ronald Footer, podiatrist. “People make comments all the time about how appropriate my name is or that I was destined to be a podiatrist; some have even asked me if I changed my name to suit my profession,” says Footer, who practices with Shady Grove Podiatry in Gaithersburg. “I just smile about it because it’s meant in good humor by good people and good patients.”

Dr. Charles Mess Jr., orthopedic surgeon. “Some people don’t think they heard me correctly when I introduce myself and will ask again,” says Mess, who practices with Potomac Valley Orthopaedic Associates, which has offices in Olney, Silver Spring, Gaithersburg and Columbia. “Others will say things like, ‘I hope you can fix me because I’m a mess!’ ” Mess’ father and sister are also doctors, although his father has retired. Whenever patients tell Mess that they went to his dad for many years, “I’ll introduce myself as the ‘junior Mess,’” he says. “It’s all in good fun.”