Why Can’t We Speak Our Own Language?

My voice recognition software insists on typing “when needed” when I say “PRN”, and the other day I saw an orthopedic note that said “before meals joint”. I was sure that the straight-laced orthopedic surgeon was not intending to tell the world anything about anybody’s cannabis use. Instead, it was obvious he had spoken the words “AC joint”, meaning acromioclavicular (on top of the shoulder). But AC can also mean “before meals”, (ante cibum).

Hospitals and health care credentialing bodies make us use plain English instead of medical terms and abbreviations. They say it is to avoid confusion. I think it often creates confusion when doctors are forced to speak as if we didn’t know medicine.

Why are we singled out for this dumbing down? Why are we robbed of the language of our own craft?

How would it be if the tech industry couldn’t use abbreviations like LCD, LED and HDTV?

What if Wall Street outlawed terms like hedge, spread and spot market?

What if military jargon was verboten in the war rooms of the Pentagon?

What if coaches weren’t allowed to scream any technical terms to their teams from the sidelines?

Do we really think a jargon free, plain speaking world will move with greater accuracy and with anywhere near acceptable speed if we remove the majority of the new language our progress was built on?

2 Responses to “Why Can’t We Speak Our Own Language?”


  1. 1 m dunn March 23, 2017 at 3:10 am

    Thanks for explaining what the abbreviation was for abefore meals joint. I would have never figured it out. What idiocy we live with sometimes. Thanks for your posts!

  2. 2 ayogafriend March 24, 2017 at 9:52 pm

    Love this blog. So happy to know there are real people in medical practice that make sense to me. One day, I hope to work in a unit that makes sense. Thank you!!


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