Intended for healthcare professionals


Parents do not always understand things doctors might say to them

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 04 November 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1160
  1. Diana Howlett, specialist registrar in paediatrics (,
  2. Alison Rushforth, consultant paediatrician,
  3. David Stevens, consultant paediatrician
  1. Child Health Department, Bath and West Community NHS Trust, Newbridge Hill, Bath BA1 3QE
  2. Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, Gloucester GL1 3NN

    EDITOR—Misunderstandings between patients and their doctors have featured in several recent papers in the BMJ.14 At Gloucestershire Royal Hospital we completed an outpatient study of 100 parents or carers (after a pilot study in 20) to see what their understanding of the words “positive” and “negative” in relation to test results might be (because these words have opposite meanings in general usage and in medical terms). We also assessed their understanding of two phrases that a …

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