Medical doctors who use slang terms with their patients -- a trend?

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    Aug 23, 2011 1:08 PM GMT
    A silly topic, I know, but I'm bored, and it'll be hours yet before the gay bars open here. So here's what makes me think about this:

    Yesterday I'm at a new doctor for my initial visit. Whose staff, I'm pleased to note as an aside, made a copy of my legal Health Care Surrogate document, and said my partner could accompany me into the examination room. Not that I needed him to hold my hand, but rather I didn't want him sitting in the waiting room all alone and nervous, and I keep nothing from him. And this specialist was actually delighted to have him there, since he remembered him as being a former patient.

    Well, this doctor went over some of the things I might expect during my treatment, and said that my dick might shrink. My DICK? Didn't they teach him the word "penis" in medical school? And he's in his early 50s, not a kid.

    And a few weeks earlier another doctor, again with my partner present, explained how I might have trouble getting a hardon in the months ahead. Not an erection, but a hardon. He later also referred to potential difficulties in "getting it up."

    Maybe speaking in the vernacular is being encouraged nowadays, so that doctors don't sound too clinically intimidating. But I'd actually prefer more professionalism. Dick & hardon are fine terms for the bedroom, but not the doctor's office. Anyone else running into this?
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    Aug 23, 2011 2:05 PM GMT
    I think it's a way for them to make you comfortable and relax. Using that vocabulary they are demonstrating their genuine intentions to understand you and your condition so you can open up and freely expressed all your health concerns without any feeling of embarrassment if there's any.

    My Chiropractor does the same thing. We talk about his life my life sports, anything. It's a way for them to temporarily remove the line between you as a patient and him/her as a physician and be more of a friend so you can be more open about your condition.
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    Aug 23, 2011 2:17 PM GMT
    Seriously I don't think it's that big of a deal.

  • UVaRob9

    Posts: 282

    Aug 23, 2011 2:20 PM GMT
    When I ruptured my pectoralis major tendon last year, the orthopedic specialist who examined me said it looked like I had a boob. He actually managed to get a smile out of me with that (also because he was pretty handsome).
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    Aug 23, 2011 2:26 PM GMT
    I don't know about medical doctors, but I know that we (dentists/dental students) are encouraged to use every-day terms/vocabulary when talking about treatment. Using too many technical/medical terminology just confuses people (not that people are too dumb; but most do tend to focus on difficult words and pay no attention to the rest of the sentence). But, I do agree that sometimes some doctors go too far with this.
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    Aug 23, 2011 2:28 PM GMT
    Doctors are getting more casual and lax with their patients. Last time I went in for a physical, I cringed when the doc drew blood from me. He chuckles and tells me, "buck up, big guy. I would think anyone that takes it up the rear could handle a little needle stick."

    I wanted to knock him the fuck out right there but I kept it cool and let him know that shit wasnt funny.....and that nothing has EVER been up this rear except toilet paper.
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    Aug 23, 2011 2:35 PM GMT
    Guy101 saidSeriously I don't think it's that big of a deal.

    Not a real big deal, I was more amused by it, and curious when this had started, if a trend as I questioned. I admit it caught me off guard on each occasion, never happened before. And I also wondered if my gay partner being present had anything to do with it, if the doctors assumed that's how we talked between ourselves. Or maybe I just wear a particularly stupid expression when I visit doctors. icon_confused.gif

    Another oddity yesterday: the doctor gave me a DRE (digital rectal exam) while my partner was in the exam room. But he asked my partner, not me, if he'd mind being present, or if he wanted to turn his head away or cover his eyes.

    "Doctor," I said, "he probably ought to be covering his ears, not his eyes, 'cause I'm gonna be howling. These DREs hurt me like Hell." That's due to my prostate being extremely tender right now. In any case my partner's presence was fine with me, naturally not embarrassed, although not an entirely dignified exercise, either. The courtesy of at least asking me my preference would have been a nice gesture. I forgot to ask hubby afterwards (certainly not in front of the doctor) if he was jealous of either of us. icon_wink.gif
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    Aug 23, 2011 3:51 PM GMT
    It bothered me more when the doctor asked why I'd come in, excused himself to step into his office, came back and recited, almost verbatim, the text I'd looked up on the internet before I decided to consult a doctor. And charged me $700 for it.
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    Aug 23, 2011 4:37 PM GMT
    I don't think there's anything wrong with using colloquialism as it can definitely help put a patient at ease. It's similar to the decision to wear a white coat - which some institutions enforce.

    Of course, a doctor usually judges these things on a patient by patient basis. And on the initial visit, it's probably prudent to keep things more formal.

    Slang would be unacceptable for medical documents or reports though (unless put in quotations).
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19138

    Aug 23, 2011 4:52 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidA silly topic, I know, but I'm bored...



    Okay, so YOU are bored, so you have to take that out on us --- thanks a lot! icon_rolleyes.gif
  • BlackBeltGuy

    Posts: 2609

    Aug 23, 2011 5:13 PM GMT
    honestly, it is easier when you are talking to patients. What is said in the room is in confidence. I always throw slang if I'm sure they have a gay partner in the room, you can gauge how well you can communicate with them. The hardest thing is white coat syndrome. Pt's hold a lot back. When you dial it down what I call street talk, they open up more. It then provides you with easier ways to making assessments.

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    Aug 23, 2011 5:18 PM GMT
    I use the word dick and hardon in professional settings such as a nude photo shoot. It makes the models more comfortable when they know I'm comfortable. Using the word penis sounds like the person in uncomfortable and uptight about nudity.
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    Aug 23, 2011 5:39 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidArt Dingbat,

    You have more important things to worry about... Hurricane Irene is headed your way AND LIKELY TO MISS YOUR AREA COMPLETELY!!!!

    TAKE THE POTTED PLANTS ON YOUR BALCONY INSIDE!!!!

    MAKE SURE ALL THE COCONUTS HAVE BEEN REMOVED FROM THE TREES ON YOUR PROPERTY - THEY CAN BECOME LETHAL WEAPONS DURING A HURRICANE!!!!!

    SYNCHORNIZE ALL CLOCKS TO THE ATOMIC CLOCK IN COLORADO SO THAT EVACUATIONS CAN BE EXECUTED AT THE PROPER MOMENT!!!

    MAKE SURE ALL DEBIT AND CREDIT CARDS HAVE BEEN ACCOUNTED FOR - WE DON'T WANT ANOTHER REPEAT OF YOUR DRAMA WHEN YOUR DEBIT CARD WAS "STOLEN" RECENTLY!!!!

    POST HOURLY UPDATES ON RJ ABOUT THE PANIC IN THE STREETS OF WILTON MANORS DUE TO THE IMPENDING MISS BY THE HURRICANE!!!!!






    Shut up moron.
  • FRE0

    Posts: 4865

    Aug 23, 2011 5:49 PM GMT
    I've made a point of learning common medical terms. So, if a doctor tells me that he doesn't know the cause of a problem, I reply, "You mean it's idiopathic?"

    When I lived in Fiji (1994 - 2004), I found that doctors were even worse about not telling patients the proper terms. They'd tell a woman that she needed to have her baby bag removed. When a woman told me that she had had her baby bag removed, I suggested that that was baby talk, that she should not let doctors talk to her like that, and that the proper word was uterus or, if she wanted to be Biblical, womb, and that the procedure was called a hysterectomy.

    When I had kidney stones, the doctor referred to my "special" X-ray. I replied, "You mean the IVP X-ray?" If I hadn't known the proper term, I would have asked the doctor what the proper term was.

    A doctor can use the proper medical term then, if the patient might not understand it, follow with an explanation. For example, a doctor could tell a woman that she needed to have a hysterectomy then say, "That's the removal of your uterus, which is often called a womb, and is the place where a baby grows."

    I see it as unprofessional for doctors to use slang terms.
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    Aug 23, 2011 5:54 PM GMT
    My GP is gddamn fine and he can talk to me in jiberrish.. I wouldnt care..hahahha- Well I would I d ask him to translate...LOL. While I am at it I need an appointment. Gay Doctors are so awesome.

  • kew1

    Posts: 1595

    Aug 23, 2011 6:08 PM GMT
    I rarely see my doctor so can't remember him talking like this.
    I mis-read the title line & thought this was going to be about the notes doctors write about patients like NFN = normal for Norfolk.
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    Aug 23, 2011 6:22 PM GMT
    "Dick" is a bit too much for me. But urologists are a funny breed. They've probably got so desensitized by patients' round-about way of describing bodily phenomena that they think it's best to use similar terms.

    If that came from an oncologist it wouldn't be fine.
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    Aug 23, 2011 6:31 PM GMT
    If my doctor used the term term "dick", "hard on" etc I would think it highly unprofessional. I don't want my doctor using slang and I agree with the other posters that it's important they use the proper medical terms which they can explain in layman's terms if need be.
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    Aug 23, 2011 6:33 PM GMT
    Well, from a med student prospective, they do teach us to use common terms so that patients can understand use clearly. It's very important to get the message across, to ease the tension, to build a good relationship with patients, and to not sound arrogant and detached.

    With that said, it is also very important to respect the patient and the situation. I thick using the terms "dick" and "hardon" is going a bit too far (everyone understands the words penis and erection).

    I wonder what was going through their minds icon_smile.gif
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    Aug 23, 2011 6:41 PM GMT
    Frankly I have not been impressed with most of the docs in FL. While they might have credentials, the office staff, the demeanor and the work ethic is way below what I experienced up north. I finally gave up and use air miles to see my doc in DC. have been much happier since then
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    Aug 23, 2011 6:50 PM GMT
    mindgarden saidIt bothered me more when the doctor asked why I'd come in, excused himself to step into his office, came back and recited, almost verbatim, the text I'd looked up on the internet before I decided to consult a doctor. And charged me $700 for it.


    His medical skills may not be up to much, but he deserves some points for his recital skills.
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    Aug 23, 2011 7:31 PM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Guy101 saidSeriously I don't think it's that big of a deal.

    Not a real big deal, I was more amused by it, and curious when this had started, if a trend as I questioned. I admit it caught me off guard on each occasion, never happened before. And I also wondered if my gay partner being present had anything to do with it, if the doctors assumed that's how we talked between ourselves. Or maybe I just wear a particularly stupid expression when I visit doctors. icon_confused.gif

    Another oddity yesterday: the doctor gave me a DRE (digital rectal exam) while my partner was in the exam room. But he asked my partner, not me, if he'd mind being present, or if he wanted to turn his head away or cover his eyes.

    "Doctor," I said, "he probably ought to be covering his ears, not his eyes, 'cause I'm gonna be howling. These DREs hurt me like Hell." That's due to my prostate being extremely tender right now. In any case my partner's presence was fine with me, naturally not embarrassed, although not an entirely dignified exercise, either. The courtesy of at least asking me my preference would have been a nice gesture. I forgot to ask hubby afterwards (certainly not in front of the doctor) if he was jealous of either of us. icon_wink.gif


    LOL

    Oh, Art. How I love thee.
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    Aug 23, 2011 7:32 PM GMT
    TropicalMark said
    southbeach1500 saidArt Dingbat,

    ...POST HOURLY UPDATES ON RJ ABOUT THE PANIC IN THE STREETS OF WILTON MANORS DUE TO THE IMPENDING MISS BY THE HURRICANE!!!!!

    Shut up moron.

    He does rather have an unhealthy obsession with me, doesn't he? I have to presume he has no clue that he succeeds in revealing his own failings, more than he does mine?
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    Aug 23, 2011 7:42 PM GMT
    Approx. 5 years ago I went to a GP in NYC who spoke a fluent English, though she was originally from Romania. She used an apparently common medical term while asking me questions. I did not understand so I asked her what the word means. She repeated the question exactly so again I asked her. Instead of answering me she just passed on that question. I checked a dictionary when I returned home, found the word, and just wondered why she hadn't been more accommodating.
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    Aug 23, 2011 7:51 PM GMT
    Bigsmiles saidFrankly I have not been impressed with most of the docs in FL. While they might have credentials, the office staff, the demeanor and the work ethic is way below what I experienced up north. I finally gave up and use air miles to see my doc in DC. have been much happier since then

    Well I can tell you that the VA in South Florida is the worst I ever experienced, compared to 5 other States in which I received VA treatment. It's the reason I decided to "privatize" my care in Florida using Medicare, despite my having to do a co-pay.

    As for the quality of Florida docs, I simply did my research. When my partner needed a hip joint replacement, I found the best doctor in the State. When it looked like I had prostate cancer, I got the best urologist. And when I was told I did indeed have cancer, the best oncologist to treat it. He's been honored as one of the best doctors in Florida for several years in a row.

    I don't mess around, or take the luck of the draw. If you want the best care, you take the time to find it. With the resources we have today, there's no excuse if you end up with a medical hack.