Ditch the textbook doctor, and talk to me like a human being

Why do some doctors insist on using textbook definitions when plain English will do?

A couple of weeks ago, Kitty had three febrile convulsions in the course of eight hours, triggered by some unknown virus. It was utterly terrifying.

She spent two nights in hospital on an antibiotic drip and a heart monitor, under constant surveillance by a medical team who were, on the whole, absolutely amazing.

But I have one quibble.

Every time a new doctor came to see her, they asked about her ‘defect’.

Now, I’m under no disillusions. My daughter is missing part of her arm. And had I been in less of a shell-shocked state, I might have called them on it.

Because they could have just said ‘her arm’ and I’m pretty sure we would have known what they were talking about.

Like the other D words – ‘disability’ and ‘deficit’ – I really don’t think it’s necessary to be so downright blunt. I don’t see Kitty’s arm as a defect; it’s just part of who she is and how it happened is pretty much irrelevant. We love that little arm just as much as we love the rest of her.

So doctors, please… I know you’re eminently qualified and spent a long time learning that accurate medical terminology, but spare a thought for those of us affected by these labels and go easy on us, eh?

Because next time, when I’m not in a quivering heap on the floor, I might have a few choice words for you.

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Someone’s back on form…

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