Intended for healthcare professionals


Nomenclature: What is your name?

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: (Published 07 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:i
  1. Geoffrey Chamberlain, is emeritus professor of obstetrics in Swansea

    For a couple of decades obstetricians and midwives have been preaching that women having babies were usually normal; they and their offspring were only occasionally subject to pathological processes and most proceeded physiologically. Following this realisation came the problem of what to call the recipients of obstetric care. If they were not ill they were not patients yet they sought medical help to keep them on the straight and narrow of normal childbirth. The more direct minded professional attendants called them women. Confusion expanded when the social scientists christened the women clients, presumably a part of the psychobabble endeavouring to hint at control over …

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