Definition An ad hoc term for medicine’s working parlance which has a core vocabulary of abbreviations, jargon, acronyms and neologisms based on Latin and classic Greek, as well as on the working parlance, drawing from literature, the arts, video games, movies, the Internet, television, and other sources.
Medspeak is meant to facilitate communication among physicians, and is the unofficial language of medicine; this work is in part an effort to rectify the paucity of information on Medspeak. Note: Because it is jargon based, Medspeak has the added benefit of making us doctors appear smarter than we really are. Medspeak derives from Newspeak, a fictional language in George Orwell’s 1984.
Medspeak’s reductio ad absurdum
Pt’s SOB + DOE dec
AF w/ SVS
CXR: LLL ASD /s Δ
WBC 11KS/B Cx → GPC c/w PC w/o GNR will d/c cef → PCN
Translation The patient’s shortness of breath and dyspnoea on exertion are diminished; the patient is afebrile with stable vital signs; a chest film shows left lower lobe air space disease without change from original film; the patient’s white blood cell count is 11,000/dL; because the sputum demonstrates gram-positive cocci–consistent with pneumococcus without gram-negative rods, cefuroxime therapy will be discontinued and switched to penicillin.’
Reference PL Fine, The Wards, Little, Brown and Co, Boston, 1994