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Medicine and Dialects

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Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Ann Intern Med. 1971;74(1):137-139. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-74-1-137
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The Physician speaks a strange and often unintelligible dialect. He calls everyday common objects by absurd and antiquated terms. He speaks of mitral commissurotomies, pituitary insufficiency, and reality feed-back. This world is peopled with cirrhotics, green-sticks, and hebephrenics. The professional dialect creates a communication gap between physician and patient that is generally acknowledged by neither. Not only does the physician speak a strange dialect, but more often than not he fails to recognize the dialects of his patients (1-3).

In order to trace the dialect of the physician it is necessary to recognize that medicine as a profession is a


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