Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Top Ten Medical DoubleSpeak Terms

Do you ever wonder what doctors, hospitals and other bureaucrats are really talking about? Don’t feel like only the lonely!

Yearly, the Canadian and United States Councils of Teachers of English round up examples of “doublespeak,” terms that try to soften tough words.

One of the most famous examples is politicians who talk about “Engaging in Revenue Enhancement” instead of only raising your taxes.

So you’ll know what medical administrators are talking about when you hear these double-dealing terms, we’ve added a handy translation chart. (Remember, we make up nothing up here; these are real terms collected from hospitals and actual medical offices by alert readers.)

1. Negative Patient Care Outcome.

It’s got nothing to do with statistics; it means the patient died. Death has also been referred to as “Immediate Permanent Incapacitation.”

2. Environmental Hygienist.

This is not somebody who cleans your teeth. It’s just a two-dollar word for “janitor.” (That job has also been known as “Sanitary Engineer” and “Minute Particle Placement Engineer.”)

3. Physical Freeway.

There are no cars here. It’s just a overblown term for the place that is swept by the Environmental Hygienist. You know it as a hallway.

4. Compensated Edentia.

If the patient is in for the above treatment and claims he can “gum the daylights out of his food,” it should give you a clue. It means false teeth.

5. Nutritional Avoidance Therapy.

A lot of people do this at the start of every year to lose weight. Except they usually call it what it is -- a diet.

6. Thermal Remediation Unit.

A bag of ice cubes.

7. Chronologically Experienced Citizens.

This is not a term you’ll find on a resume. It means old people who may need compensated edentia. See how easy it is? You’re understanding doublespeak already!

8. Digital Fever Computer

You don’t have to know any computer languages to use this. It’s a

9. Grapho-Motor Representation.

Sounds impressive, huh? And what’s more, doctors have, and use, lousy versions of it! Translation? Handwriting.

10. Outstanding Vintage Cuisine

I don’t know about you, but everything I’ve ever eaten in a hospital tastes
like this. Forget about it if you’re thinking Italian or French cuisine. It
means “leftovers.”

Imagine reading the following hospital report:

“The patient was philosophically disillusioned
(frightened) because he experienced a prematurely terminated airline flight
(crash) over his ability to continue engaging in movement experiences
(sports) and because he could not locate his data transport system (briefcase). The
patient was also was embarrassed because he was wearing a form persuader
(girdle) at the time of the accident and could not immediately go back to his
position as a loss prevention specialist (guard).

“Nonetheless, we must turn the case over to our portfolio administrator
(bill collector) even if the subject has to take a lesser paying job like
mobile mountain range technician (cowboy.)

(Well, okay, I made that up but you get the idea of what happens when
language like that goes without the handy explanations.

In my humble opinion,
writing like that kinda exceeds the olfactory thereshold (stinks,) don’t you think?

It’s almost like engaging in reality argumentation (lying.)

You have to wonder how ol’ Ben
would have been remembered if he had written:
“Nothing in life is certain except engaging in
revenue enhancement and negative patient care outcome.”

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