Duke doctor duo share same name, ethics

Jun. 15, 2013 @ 09:35 PM

The dad, Dr. Dan G. Blazer II, and his son, Dr. Dan “Trey” Blazer III, have similar business cards, but their roles at Duke Hospital are vastly different.

The joke is that they get each other’s mail so frequently, they make a point to stop by each other’s offices to collect their correspondence and have an excuse to catch up.

Trey is an assistant professor who specializes in surgical oncology. He’s used to middle-of-the-night calls that send him into the operating room. He holds clinic hours at Duke, the VA and in Raleigh, and he talks with his cancer patients about upcoming treatment battles and life plans. He was married at 32 and just had his first child, Callie, at 41.

His father was married at 22 and had Trey at 26 years old. His route in medicine led him into the research and administrative side of the hospital, where he works in psychiatry and behavioral sciences. His studies have pinpointed substance abuse, drug use and depression in elderly patients.

“The pace of our lives and the style of our lives are quite different,” Dan said.

Dan said he first wanted to be a medical missionary. When Trey was only 8 months old, the family lived in Africa, where Dan helped run a mobile clinic that visited villages for almost two years. He saw an average of 150 patients a day.

Trey said he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps when he was making the decision about medical school. His father was the dean of Duke’s medical school while Trey was a student there, and Dan stepped down as dean the year Trey graduated.

“I always took some pride that it’s my name on his diploma,” Dan said.

They both talk about medicine together more than ever before, they said, whether it’s about working at Duke or the challenges they face on the job. Each holds a certain respect for the other, as both professionals and as family.

“He has always conducted himself ethically and honorably,” Trey said. “I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about him. I try to do the same and I’m not going to compromise my ethics.”

“He likes to act at times like he’s a slacker but he’s extremely disciplined,” Dan said of his son. “He’s smarter than I am and I’ve always appreciated that about him. I never would have gotten into Duke medical school and I admire him for that.”