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Views & Reviews Personal View

Admission to hospital could be considered a disease

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 20 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f3242

Rapid Response:

Re: Admission to hospital could be considered a disease

There are valid points in the personal view; but does it warrant a new disease entity? Probably not. (1). Normal ‘convalescence' phase of a disease, which can be complicated in some patients, doesn’t need a new label. Readmissions are a synthetic issue created by bean counters. Physicians do not need a’ Pre-hospital syndrome’ and a ‘Hospital syndrome’ to follow the definition of a ‘Post-hospital syndrome’.

Similarly, we do not need a ‘childhood syndrome’ characterized by dependence on parents and ‘adolescence syndrome’ characterized by hormonal surges and so on! Tongue still firmly planted in cheek, I hope ‘mid-life crisis’ is not a real entity!

Physicians need to avoid the path trodden by psychiatrists in applying a label to everything that is not 'deemed normal'. (2).

1. McIntyre M . Admission to hospital could be considered a disease. BMJ 2013; 346 doi:

2. Frances A. The new somatic symptom disorder in DSM-5 risks mislabeling many people as mentally ill. BMJ 2013;346:f1580

Competing interests: No competing interests

30 May 2013
Santhanam Sundar
Consultant Oncologist
Nottingham City Hospital
Nottingham. NG5 1PB