Your di­ag­no­sis de­coded

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - HEALTH -

Dys­men­or­rhoea, mastal­gia, dy­suria, scro­fula… Do th­ese mean any­thing to you? I had to look up the last one (although best not to google the im­ages).

This is the sort of lan­guage you’re likely to find in let­ters about your med­i­cal con­di­tion from your hos­pi­tal doc­tor to your GP – a copy of which you also re­ceive in the post (trans­la­tion: dys­men­or­rhoea = painful pe­ri­ods; mastal­gia = painful breasts; dy­suria = pain pass­ing urine; scro­fula = swollen glands from TB). Pa­tients are of­ten con­fused and con­cerned and visit their GP, en­ve­lope in hand, seek­ing re­as­sur­ance that they are not go­ing to die from hy­per­hidro­sis (ex­cess sweat­ing) or even ia­t­ro­pho­bia (fear of doc­tors).

Guid­ance has been is­sued for med­i­cal let­ters like th­ese to be writ­ten di­rectly to pa­tients in plain English, with a copy to their GP rather than the other way around. So you won’t have to get the dictionary out or con­sult Dr Google – and nor will we.

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