Monday’s Musings 8/15/22-Medicine as a second language

Medicine-speak is impossible to understand if you don’t know.

And medical-type people can say an entire paragraph comprised completely in letters, vowels and consonants both. It is shorthand that brings all other medical-type people up to speed about a patient in less than 15 seconds.

It is kind of like Twin Speak that twins sometimes develop among themselves when they don’t want adults or other kids to know what they are saying. But more special because there are many many twins.

There can be different dialects, and different accents of sorts. The letters can be tinged by the type of medical-type person is speaking it. Because there are infinite combinations of medical-type people.

We can talk among ourselves, but it important to be able to speak to the non-medical type people. Common language is hard to come by in the medical profession. I can talk to another medical-type person and come to a complete understanding.

But non-medical type people don’t have the common language that most medical-type people do. And they are the ones that need to understand. And medicine people and lay people (those who are not medical) need a familiar language.

We need to slow down the language and allow non-medical type people to understand. And if they can’t, we need to come up with better words for what is happening.

I say this, as a representative of the medical-type people, tell us when you don’t understand and we can find the words together. Some of the concepts will be hard. There isn’t a guaranteed happy ending. Sometimes medicine and operations fail. I recognize it is so hard for patients and families to understand situations that we in the medical field have been training for for years, sometimes decades.

And it is hard on us too.

It is very hard to go to a family member and say that everything has been done. Families will tell you that their person is strong and a fighter. Absolutely, they are. But they are fighting against something that may not be winnable. With all of our technology, with all of our medical words, sometimes we don’t win. And it is hard to convey to families, and to ourselves, that sometimes the worse happens.

Believe me when I say that every death, and every set back, hurts. I just don’t have the words to convey it to you.

A common language will help us all.

Who wants language lessons?

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