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BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 31 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1242

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About Nosocomial (infection ecc)

Irvine Loudon in BMJ Vol 317, 31 OCT 1998 in an article titled
Nosocomial under the heading Words, is attempting an explanation of the
origins of the word "nosocomial" in the English Medical literature. The
word has been used mainly to describe in-hospital infections ie nosocomial
Without having to use any references from french, english-french, greek-
english or other dictionaries I
will simply say that the word nosocomial comes from the greek word
nosocomeion which means hospital in Greek since the time of Hippocrates.
The word nosocomeion in turn comes from conjunction of the greek words
nosos = disease and comeo = host, treat.
The modern debate (if the issue is raised in realistic terms) regarding
the thousands of words the english medical and scientific language borrows
from greek and latin should be whether newly introduced terms into the
medical jargon should be somewhat more simplified and more akin to the
current english language. Greek and latin are no longer included in the
secondary education in Britain after all. I must confess however that it
helped me an awful lot to go on with my medical training in Great Britain
for five years the fact that my mother tongue is Greek.

Xenophon S. Roussis
Paediatric Surgeon
K. Y. Ionias, "G. Genimatas" Hospital
Thessaloniki, Greece

Address: 49 Eratyras Street

Kalamaria 55133

Thessaloniki, Greece
Tel. 0030-31-480358

Competing interests: No competing interests

10 November 1998
Xenophon S Roussis