Monday 5 December 2016

Use less jargon please, doctor

Published 07/04/2015 | 02:30

Doctors have been urged to use less jargon (Stock photo)
Doctors have been urged to use less jargon (Stock photo)

How many of us have sat in a doctor's surgery nodding quietly but only understanding half of what is being said because of the amount of jargon used? A recent survey by the National Adult Literarcy Agency found that 39pc of Irish people want less fancy terms from their doctor and more plain English.

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It can have serious impact with 17pc surveyed saying they had taken the wrong amount of medication on at least one occasion.

So what are the worst offenders we have to decode?

• Abbreviations like BMI (body mass index) which relates to our weight relative to height, or LDL (low density lipoprotein), otherwise known as bad cholesterol are favourites.

• Using the word hypertension for the more easily understood high blood pressure. Service user - beloved of bureaucrats. What's wrong with calling someone a patient, or a person with a disability or a person suffering mental illness?

• Using the term renal instead of kidney. Referring to diagnostics instead of x-ray or scan.Telling a patient their disease is chronic instead of saying it is persistent and long-lasting.Talking about cardiac instead of using the word heart.Speaking to a patient about the kind of food a patient should be eating or avoiding and referring to it as diet.

• Speaking about lifestyle changes when they should just make it clear they are referring to letting go of bad habits.

Health & Living

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