Sunday, May 28, 2006

"Doctors' Lingo That Leaves You Speechless"

From the Hartford Courant:

It's impolite to speak in a foreign language in front of people who don't know it. For many of us in the medical profession, though, the switch to medicalese just happens, the way French comes back when two Parisian expatriates meet. At lunch with friends, another of whom is a doctor:

Guest: What's with bleeding people? Do you guys ever bleed anyone anymore?

Doctor: Yes. There's a condition called hemochromatosis where bleeding is actually the treatment.

Me: Or CHF. [Congestive heart failure - a type of fluid overload.]

Doc: Ah, just give 'em Lasix. [A "water pill" in IV form.]

Me: What if they're in renal failure? [What if their kidneys aren't working, and they can't make urine?]

Doc: Just dialyze 'em. [Hemodialysis, that is.]

Me: What if the renal fellow doesn't show? Phlebotomize! (Looking around at other guests) Um...Never mind.

At a patient's bedside (as when the expat is back in France, talking to a puzzled tourist): "Your EKG was negative, and your clinical picture and elevated BNP really suggest that your dyspnea was due to CHF - we're diuresing you and giving you antihypertensives."

At least we're not phlebotomizing.


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