Sunday, March 23, 2008

Medical Abbreviations

This is quite an old story that popped up on the BBC website while I was browsing.

All about how medical abbreviations are not "standardised" and can cause confusion.

Now some doctors can try to ignore this, but I worked for a company once who where responsible for transferring doctors notes from which ever doctors computer systems they had into a central database, not being a doctor I ignored most of the abbreviations but sometimes I spotted stuff that was so bizarre I had to comment.

There was one case where the doctor used abbreviations that included / and \ and then select characters to encode details of a patients condition that meant fuck all to even his fellow doctors at the same practise. Because this guy assumed he'd live forever and no other doc would need his notes he justified it simply by saying "I know what it means"

My son was overdosed on antibiotics when he was a baby for similar reasons and I'm sure other people may well have experienced the same sort of thing. (he was supposedly unaffected by it, but now he has dyspraxia)

Why do doctors do this? sometimes I know they abbreviated as they had old crappy computer systems that only allowed a certain amount of characters, sometimes it was laziness, and these days I do suspect they don't have the time as some arsehole beancounter is watching and costing their every working minute.

I just hope me and mine never suffer because some doctor thinks his or her clever abbreviation is "so obvious" and another doc makes a serious, possibly fatal decision based on a wrong interpretation of those "quick ntotes"

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