Intended for healthcare professionals

Personal Views

From the other side

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 19 December 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1741
  1. Francesca Signore, postgraduate research student
  1. Scunthorpe

    I have learnt a great deal since I started to share my life with a doctor. I have learnt that doctors speak in code. The code is known as TLA—that is, three letter abbreviations. “The SHO in A and E has bleeped the SpR in O and G warning of a woman with a BP of 160/110, LMP 15.7.97, suffering from an APH, PET, and DIC.” Oh really.

    Of course, such jargon is not confined to the medical world. Just about every specialty has its shortcuts. But sadly in my specialty I rarely get the chance to wreak my revenge. My life is lived in the not so splendid isolation of a postgraduate research student. I am not medical but biblical. We live at least an hour away from someone I might ask: “Have you seen the articles in the JBL and the JSNT suggesting that the MSS of the LXX change the Greek sense of μεγαλενει thus implying Luke as redactor and not innovator?” Put that in your PIPE and smoke it. I've got jargon, me.

    I have also learnt a further three letter abbreviation—BMJ. This is a journal that drops on to our doormat every Friday, written, to a great extent, in code. The exception is those enlightening photos in Minerva fulfilling doctors' secret voyeuristic tendencies and provoking the David Coleman in all of us to shriek: …

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