The Danger of Doctorspeak

The Danger of Doctorspeak

 

Scott Abramson, MD

Fall 2006 - Volume 10 Number 3

https://doi.org/10.7812/TPP/06-036

This is a true story about medical jargon and how it may confuse our patients. A while ago, I happened to be involved in a hospitalized patient-family conference. There seemed to be about ten family members present, all very devoted and concerned, though not particularly medically sophisticated. With much compassion and patience, the hospital-based specialist doctor reported that the x-rays showed what was, almost certainly, a newly discovered cancer. The doctor pointed out the multiple brain lesions on the MRI. She informed the family about other lesions showing up in the bone and still other lesions in the liver. The primary lesion, she suspected, was most likely in the lung. She then explained how lesions could spread from the primary to different parts of the body. The family listened respectfully, but they seemed more than a bit puzzled by it all. Suddenly, one brave family member blurted out, "What's a lesion?"

Click here to join the E-TOC list or text TPJ to 22828. You will receive an Email notice with the Table of Contents of each issue.

The Permanente Journal

Sponsored by the eight Permanente Medical Groups, The Permanente Journal advances knowledge in scientific research, clinical medicine, and innovative health care delivery.

Reprint Permissions

The Permanente Journal welcomes requests for reprints and reproduction. Use of any and all material published in The Permanente Journal is copyrighted and protected.

The Permanente Press

The Permanente Press publishes The Permanente Journal and books related to healthcare. Journal subscriptions are entered for the calendar year. Advance payment in US dollars is required.


ISSN 1552-5775 Copyright © 2018 thepermanentejournal.org.

The Permanente Press. All Rights Reserved.