Friday, 25 April 2014

"The Secret Language of Doctors!"

My letter to the Editor of the National Post, re a book which I feel misrepresents the behaviour of most of the physicians, nurses, residents and medical students.
Most, and I have known many, over half a lifetime, have been very respectful of patients, although there are exceptions to every rule and the phenomenon he describes may be more common among Dr. Goldman's friends:

The article in Friday's Post describing Dr. Goldman's book "The Secret Language of Doctors -Cracking the Code of Hospital Slang" perpetuates great inaccuracies. The book itself does a great disservice to patients, doctors and nurses. I have practiced Family Medicine for over fifty years and have spent much of the last twenty-five of them as a Professor of Family Medicine and have been in constant close contact with medical students and residents in more than one province, during that period. I have only heard of one of the list of disrespectful terms that Goldman sensationalizes. Indeed, I have talked to nurses from Mt. Sinai Hospital who inform me they have heard only one or two of the term and very rarely.
There will always be a few disrespectful individuals in any profession, but Goldman certainly leaves the impression that these terms are in daily use, when he knows they are not. In so doing, he does great damage to patients, physicians and to patient - physician relationships. I suppose that doesn't matter as long as he gets a book out of it.
Stanley G Smith, Professor Emeritus, Dept of Family Medicine, University of Western Ontario.

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