Day 220. Language

In March 2013 on March 21, 2013 at 9:49 am


When I visit my regular doctor, we have plenty of in-depth discussions about medicine, science, and other complex stuff that we both have a background and an interest in.

We speak the same language. We know this through experience and asking questions of each other.

When I visit a different doctor – which happens when the main guy is booked up – it’s interesting to see how the conversations go.

Many doctors assume I have no expert knowledge in the field, and talk to me accordingly. I think this is a reasonable thing to do.

Sometimes, I stop them and insert a quick,

“I have a background in immunology, I understand this stuff”

so we can take the conversation a little further, and I can get a better feel for the way they are thinking about my symptoms, or those of my children.

Occasionally I strike a doctor who uses highly specific medical language for the entirety of the consultation. I recall one such appointment last winter; as one example, the guy listened to my lungs and then told me he couldn’t hear any crepitations, so he didn’t think my virus had spread to my lungs.

Crepitations! It means crackly or popping sounds. I knew this. But surely it can’t be expected that most patients would understand this lingo.

I think doctors need to think of themselves as science communicators too. Good communication surely leads to better compliance (i.e. doing what you are advised to do), and hence better health outcomes.

[image thanks to aeu04117 on flickr]


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