Shocking language

BMJ 2003; 327 doi: (Published 21 August 2003) Cite this as: BMJ 2003;327:422
  1. Ashley Rule, specialist registrar in adult psychiatry (
  1. Royal London Hospital

    Most doctors, regardless of specialty or grade, can probably still recall a list of the causes of shock. This list probably does not include experiencing a psychologically traumatic event. However, when a newspaper reports that a person has “received treatment for shock,” the average person (in Britain at least) knows what this means, and it has little to do with dangerously low blood pressure.

    Such (mis)use of jargon by the general public is common to all branches of medicine (a headache is painful, …

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