The language of medicine
Or, Escape from Planet Jargon.

There are some words I wish I weren't using now on the wards, but they seem to be part of the language here; any deviation would waste time or be misinterpreted as pretension. In this category are abbreviations like "meds [medications]," "ped onc [pediatric oncology]," and the like. I'll deal with them.

There are other expressions which I've promised myself I'll do my level best not to use. When a patient does not report the symptom the doctor is asking about, it is the practice to use the word "denies." E.g., "Mr. Campos denies chest pain." This is so distant from the ordinary meaning of "denies" that it attributes ulterior motives to the patient where none exist. (The twin of "denies" is "endorses," which in medspeak means "reports something." The same problem arises here. In normal English, could anyone really be said to "endorse" symptoms of depression?)

When a patient does not take his or her medication, the word used in medical jargon is "noncompliant." There's a similar problem here, because in normal English, "noncompliant" connotes defiance or noncooperation, while in medspeak, a noncompliant patient can simply be forgetful or confused.

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