Hospital CEO kicks the "CrackBerry"

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Jan. 15, 2007

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Paul Levy, CEO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, created an online stir last month when he announced he was quitting, cold turkey, his addiction.

"I was a 'CrackBerry' addict," Levy wrote Dec. 18, 2006, on his blog, Running a Hospital. "CrackBerry" is a slang term for the Waterloo, Ont.-based Research in Motion's BlackBerry, a combination phone/Internet device hailed, and reviled, for how easily it connects users with the online world.

Levy said he gave up his BlackBerry in November 2006, after his wireless provider informed him he would need to upgrade his service.

As he wrote on his blog: "As I look back and see how often I was rude or inattentive, I am embarrassed. As I look back and see how often I responded in haste to an e-mail in the midst of other activities, I am appalled."

Levy had 28 mostly supportive responses to his blog entry -- an unusually high number. His post was linked by numerous other blogs and appeared on BlackBerry-related message boards.

A British study released last fall stated one-third of BlackBerry users showed "signs of addictive behavior." Research in Motion has denied frequent use constitutes any sort of addiction. The company recently reports quarterly sales were up by one-third over last year as the device has continued to outdistance competitors in the handheld market.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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