Monday, April 5, 2010

Medical Miscues - "Huh????"

Many of you have read about the "plums" story in my book, a typical example of what I call a medical miscue. Those of you who haven't read it - well, you should get your hands on a copy of DL pronto!

Along with the miscommunication that happens in the doctor's office as illustrated by the "plums" event...I think of the medical jargon that's thrown around in conversation, leading to all kinds of "miscues'. Here's another example:

A girlfriend of mine has hemochromatosis - a condition that causes your body to absorb and store too much iron. When her blood tests indicate that she's reached an iron level that isn't safe, she has to have a significant amount of blood drawn (like one does at a blood bank)...which is a process called a phlebotomy. She was explaining this to a co-worker, mentioning that she'd be back in the afternoon after the phlebotomy was over. Her co-worker, mouth agape, just kept saying, "I can't believe you're coming back to work after that. Are you going to be okay? That's crazy." She'd never heard of returning to work after such a procedure. Why? Turns out, she was confusing phlebotomy with lobotomy - the psychosurgical procedure where the frontal lobes of the brain are separated from the rest of the brain. Yeah, I guess I can see why my friend might need the afternoon off, in that case!

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