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Hospital Clinics in Plain English

Augment Greek signage with English and a picture.
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Today I had occasion to wander up to the Nephrology clinic, some piece of equipment needed setup and tweaking. I glanced around, saw various patients there to get their nephrites taken care of, everybody having a nephrologically good time. Or not.

During my brief visit I discovered that Nephrology concerns itself with kidney function. I would never have guessed. This is America: why not just say so?

Merchants of yore simply hung their shingle outside of their shop; horseshoes, eyeglasses, a .30-30, leaving no doubt as to what went on inside or whether a customer was in the correct spot.

Down the hall people were ready to do the Apheresis dance, similarly others had somehow found their way to Bariatrics after first wandering into Otolaryngology. Would anyone know not to consult a gastroenterohepatologist to perform an otolaryngolectomy? I wonder.

I think that English-speaking patients who did not pursue a medical degree and/or who did not take Greek as a second language would be happier navigating a hospital with clear English identifiers. A pictogram showing a body outline with highlighted organs (kidneys for nephrology, heart for cardio, the feet, an ear, etc) would certainly help.

whatrock, Feb 26 2020

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       My nearest hospital has plain descriptors - such as an E.N.T. (Ear, Nose & Throat) There is also Sexual Health, Heart and Lungs, Stomach and Digestion. Those are the ones I remember.
xenzag, Feb 26 2020

       Not "Neurology, cognitive function and memory" though, for reasons that are not hard to deduce...
8th of 7, Feb 26 2020

       //Would anyone know not to consult a gastroenterohepatologist to perform an otolaryngolectomy?//   

pertinax, Feb 26 2020

       In the case of bariatrics, perhaps a picture would cause offence.
pertinax, Feb 26 2020

       Only to fatties, shirley ? It's not like the sign in the front yard reads "Dead fattie storage" or anything ...
8th of 7, Feb 27 2020

       Actually, it's not just us patient-types who might benefit from this. The docs, particularly the specialists, specialize enough that when they get outside of their normal stomping grounds, they can get that bewildered look.   

       For example - my wife is a diabetic with a kidney transplant. She gets recurrent urinary infections. She broke her leg, needed a rod implanted in her tibia - it got infected, it went septic, and she started having a hard time breathing. So, before we could get her loose from the hospital, we had a conference with her care-givers: orthopedics, radiology, physical therapy, and outpatient care (for the most part, these people all speak the same language); nephrology, solid organ transplant, urology, and transplant pharmacology (their shared language is quite different from the bones group); endocrinology (they just talk to themselves; nephrology will nod along sometimes); internal medicine and cardiology & thoracic medicine (they speak the same language, but can't use it to agree on anything); infectious diseases (the prophets of doom) and outpatient pharmacy. I found that I could ask the "dumb questions" to get layperson- level answers, ostensibly for my own benefit, but it let the specialists understand and talk about cross-effects that on their own, they might have missed since their egos don't allow them to ask for a plain-language explanation.
lurch, Feb 27 2020

       The design of the human body was clearly a government-backed job. Too complicated and involving everyone's favorite pet project organ, organelle, system, and some with clearly no function at all, or even opposing functions. Mass simplification is required.
RayfordSteele, Feb 28 2020


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