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Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Illogical Medical Terminology Used in Rehabilitation

Lately I've been reflecting on a few common descriptions of various medical contributions used by physicians to denote either the current status or future prognosis of a medical condition. The illogic of  stating that a degenerative condition such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Muscular Dystrophy or even Multiple Sclerosis is "progressive", indicating the degree of functional deterioration over time, sounds like medical doublespeak wherein the term "progressive" actually means loss of ability as the condition spreads. It is a clear instance wherein language is used as a process of distancing oneself from the felt experiences of the patient living with the condition in his/her daily life. Cerebral Palsy, which is what I was born with, is a neurological condition that is  considered relatively "stable" over time with an average life expectancy close to the norm, provided that a healthy lifestyle and flexible muscle tone is maintained. Physicians and others in the allied professions should only use such descriptors in the context of providing complete clinical summaries of the functional range required to carry out specific tasks. These additional details woul go a long way towards lessening the distancing effects of medical jargon and come closer to approximating the actual experiences of the consumer or patient with a disability, thereby facilitating constructive rapport between two participants in the dialogue.

1 comment:

  1. Other terms that don't make any fucking sense:

    Federal Reserve
    Army Intelligence
    Plastic Glass

    Seems you've fallen into the oxymoron void where your disease and a politician who leans to the left can both be described as "progressive". Congratulations! Now Fox News can deride you too!

    Long time/no see Dr. Dan:) You still hangin' at SBUKS? Would love to see you one day.

    If you're out for a springtime stroll, come to the High Line at 22nd St. and we'll get you set up to paint a bit at – no stylus tho! Real paintbrushes!