nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Medical Mis-Communication: It's A Wonder We All Survive

These are called Medical Malapropisms

"Doctor" jargon frequently undergoes a major tongue-twisting when talking to patients:  unfamiliar terms are transformed into familiar sounds and phrases.  The mature physician will let these slide without reaction.

--These are some I've run across over the years.

junkovitis (conjunctivitus)

teflon pearls (Tessalon perles, for cough)

castor oil (cholesterol)

incompetence (incontinence)

smiling mighty Jesus (spinal meningitis) --I've been told patients say this, so it may be apocryphal...pun intended.

ministration (menstruation)

blood clogs (blood clots)

ammonia (pneumonia)

--Then there are the misplaced consonants: 
vomiking (vomiting) and naugizated (nauseated) and elipepsy (epilepsy)

--And there are the borderline phenomena where the word is right, but the pronunciation is mis-applied.

angina:  pronounced "an-GI-na"  (for "AN-gi-na," accent on the first syllable), possibly by osmotic transfer from "va-GI-na."  I've heard a few people say "VAG-i-na," ...but not in the South.
As I wrote this, I found other websites where doctors and nurses have recorded their experiences of patients' verbalization of medical terms. 

If you think patients are funny, try some of the medical chart entries (Chart Bloopers), where doctors and nurses write stuff on the patient's chart that makes no sense ("the patient is comatose and offers no complaints.")

Doc D

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