The Secret Language Of Doctors

The Secret Language Of Doctors

Brian Goldman / Jun 04, 2020

The Secret Language Of Doctors All of us have visited the doctor or sat in the emergency room for long hours awaiting treatment When we finally do reach the other side of the swinging doors we enter into what seems like another wo

  • Title: The Secret Language Of Doctors
  • Author: Brian Goldman
  • ISBN: 9781443416030
  • Page: 310
  • Format: ebook
  • All of us have visited the doctor or sat in the emergency room for long hours awaiting treatment When we finally do reach the other side of the swinging doors, we enter into what seems like another world, with practitioners in white coats and scrub suits speeding from patient to patient, consulting with one another amid controlled chaos Beneath the cacophony of medical eAll of us have visited the doctor or sat in the emergency room for long hours awaiting treatment When we finally do reach the other side of the swinging doors, we enter into what seems like another world, with practitioners in white coats and scrub suits speeding from patient to patient, consulting with one another amid controlled chaos Beneath the cacophony of medical equipment and routine codes announced over the loudspeaker, doctors and nurses use a kind of secret language, usually out of earshot of their patients but sometimes in front of them The words you ll learn in this book are not expressions that you ll likely find in a medical textbook or even hear on a television show In fact, most health professionals would rather you didn t know that this underground language exists at all.In The Secret Language of Doctors, bestselling author Dr Brian Goldman pulls back the curtain to reveal some of medicine s darkest modern secrets, decoding the colourful and clandestine expressions doctors employ to describe difficult patients, situations and medical conditions and sometimes even other colleagues You ll discover what it means to exhibit the symptoms of incarceritis, what blocking and turfing are, and why you never want to be diagnosed with a horrendoma In the process, you ll gain profound insight into what doctors really think about their patients personalities and even their chances of making it out of the hospital alive.Highly accessible, biting, funny and entertaining, The Secret Language of Doctors reveals modern medical culture at its best and all too often at its worst.

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    About "Brian Goldman"

      • Brian Goldman

        Brian Goldman, MD, is one of those rare individuals with great success in not one but several adrenaline pumping careers Goldman is a highly regarded emergency physician at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto He is also the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation s award winning radio show White Coat, Black Art , where he takes listeners behind the scenes of hospitals and doctor s offices Goldman unpacks and demystifies what goes on inside medicine s sliding doors with edgy topics that include the whistle blowing in health care, burnout among health professionals, racism in health care and how to getting to the head of the line in health care.Goldman is on a lifelong campaign to confront medical errors and create a culture of safety for patients He has proven unafraid of using his own medical mistakes for examples on how doctors can improve His TEDtalk Doctors Make Mistakes Can We Talk About That has been watched by close to a million viewers, and has been featured in The Huffington Post and NPRs TED Radio Hour.Dr Goldman has worked as a health reporter for The National, CBC Television s flagship news program, for CBC TV s The Health Show, and served as senior production executive during the launch year of Discovery Health Channel, Canada s only 24 hour channel devoted to health programming.He is the author of the bestselling book The Night Shift Real Life in the ER, which takes readers through giddying heights and crashing lows as Goldman works through a typical night shift in one of Canada s busiest ERs His book The Secret Language of Doctors published by Harper Collins in 2014 is a biting look at medical slang The book cracks the coded words doctors use in hospital elevators and hallways that reveal what the doctor really thinks about your mother s obesity, your grandfather s dementia or her colleague s competence Often funny and always revealing, The Secret Language of Doctors reveals deep flaws in modern medical culture, and how to fix them.


    1. The title is good, because it draws you in, but the book itself was only okay. I get that at handoff, there would be lots of patients to discuss, but he pulls out all the slang in the first paragraph of the book, and then the rest is just covering a little bit of how and why it's used.The narrative irks me too. In one chapter, he's at Bergman's home, watching him eat a grapefruit and following him out to the office and describing how he looks, then the author is covering quotes from other medica [...]

    2. This book isn't so much about doctors' slang (the "secret language" of the title) but of doctors' dislike of certain patients: the elderly (i.e. those who suffer FTD "failure to die"); the obese; and the anxious--among others. This is a sobering and concerning read. Anyone who thinks of it realizes that medical work can't be easy, but I'm not sure how I feel having doctors' attitudes laid bare in this manner. If you've suspected doctor bias in your own experiences, this text will confirm it for [...]

    3. My impression was that the medical slang theme was largely an excuse to write a book. There are plenty of parts where the author goes into stories and explanations without talking about language. And it's good; he's a good writer with plenty of experience to write from. I particularly liked that he wrote so much about his conversations with Dr. Stephen Bergman, who wrote The House of God using the pseudonym Samuel Shem. I loved that book several decades ago when I read it. Today, I'd probably fi [...]

    4. This was an interesting book. The author is a Canadian emergency room doctor and his subject is the slang medical professionals use for their patients and each other. The slang is interesting if you like wordsmithing, but it's the underlying attitude that generates the slang that is compelling (and alarming).The sheer volume of slang for less-than-desirable patients (examples: whales for obese patients, bed blockers for elderly patients who are waiting for a place in a nursing home, GOMER - Get [...]

    5. What a great read! I finished this in one day, and really enjoyed it. Much like his show on CBC, I can hear Dr. Goldman telling me the stories in this book with his awesome sense of humour underlying each point. This is not a "serious" medical text book, it is an interesting read for anyone who is curious about the medical culture. I felt like Dr. Goldman was walking me from patient's room to gurney, talking to me about common everyday occurrences and explaining many of the things that happen 'b [...]

    6. MY REVIEW:HarperCollins|April 29, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-44341-601-6Have you ever wondered what doctors and nurses are really saying as they zip through the emergency room and onto elevators, throwing cryptic phrases at one another? Or why they do it? Do you guess at the codes broadcast over the loudspeaker, or the words doctors and nurses use when speaking right in front of patients? In THE SECRET LANGUAGE OF DOCTORS, bestselling author Dr. Brian Goldman opens up the book on the clandestine [...]

    7. I read this book because it was selected by fellow book club members. Goldman raised a number of issues related to the medical profession plus introduced me to an extensive vocabulary spoken in Canadian and US hospitals.Dyscopia, for example, refers to patients having difficulty coping. Code White is a missing patient and FTD, failure to die. These terms are part of medical argot; a vocabulary peculair to a particular group. He also explores why medical slang was developed and the reasons it end [...]

    8. If we could give 1/2 stars, I'd rate this book 3.5 out of 5. It was a very interesting and eye-opening read, but I feel torn about what I learned.It seems that doctors have a very dark sense of humour, which must go with working in a hospital. From a language perspective, some of the slang invented is quite clever.Some things about this book bothered me though. One was the doctors' behaviour in "turfing" patients and *celebrating* those turfs. I got the impression that it's like a game for them [...]

    9. For a word-nerd like me, this was a very nice read. I loved the insights into the code switching and the different puns. It also helped feed my curiosity about how doctors interact and their day.

    10. The title pretty much tells you everything you need to know about this book.It sets up numerous scenarios in doctors' offices, emergency rooms, and other places that medical practitioners inhabit, lets the scene play out as if you were a fly on the wall, and then explains what all the medical jargon means in layman's terms.It's not a particularly compelling read, but it is certainly packed full of interesting information (like, Hollywood Code is not as glamorous as it sounds!).The most interesti [...]

    11. Humourous stories to decode those "interesting" diagnostic language. Couldn't stop laughing about Code Browns.

    12. Although the author declares himself a "keen observer" of social culture, I found this volume lacking in focus. Some bits were on the history of some slang used by some doctors in some places, some bits were frightening as it appeared that doctors really don't like people, some bits were space fillers with names and associated health care units, a lot of bits were repetitous quotes from The House of Glass (which I haven't read), and there were annoying self-referential bits "an ER doctor such as [...]

    13. This book is humorous, disturbing, somethimes horrifying but relatable. It is easy to identify family and friends and situations in the stories he tells unfotunately that means that we have often been disliked by our doctors.

    14. Good book on medical argot. Interesting three step approach to bad news delivery was hidden in there. What do they know?, deliver sensitively, respond to patients emotion.

    15. It was interesting to read about what goes on in the doctors "bunker" room and how they use acronyms and slang to describe a patient, a treatment or even another doctor. It certainly was eye-opening in some waysbut I think we all know that alot of professionals present themselves one way to their patients or clients but behind closed doors, they really dislike that person or the situation. I understand they are humans, not God's, who can get angry, frustrated and emotionality spent dealing with [...]

    16. Doctor Brian Goldman is an Emergency Room Physician in Toronto. He is also host of the CBC program White Coat/Black Art. Despite the title this book is more an assessment of the state of Medical Health Care in North America than a dictionary of medical slang/argot/jargon. In his position he gets to see acutely ill patients but often does not get to provide after care. However, he works in a system that rewards through-put and not quality of care and therefore pays a doctor more for dealing with [...]

    17. Well, this book certainly has its good and bad points. Among the good: as an MD I think it will help me confront the more negative aspects of my job, reflect on them, and hopefully use a more patient-centred, humanistic approach in my day-to-day work. It does relay how *therapeutic* slang can be to medical trainees (and staff) when we all need to vent and commiserate. I think it shows the lay public a sense of what challenges MDs/health care providers face outside of the straight-up medical dile [...]

    18. Sometimes a little too cute, but always fascinating exploration of doctor jargon. Through the slang used by North American health professionals, Dr. Goldman (himself an ER doctor) explores how health care providers view patients and their behaviors.The takeaway from the work as a whole is that there is an unhealthy degree of judgement and shortage of empathy for patients, especially ones with complicated conditions like morbid obesity or mental health issues. From the "bunker" I learned a bunker [...]

    19. I just happened to see this on the shelf in the library. Turned out to be a fascinating "story" of how doctors - primarily in hospital settings - have developed a medical vocabulary of slang. In general, the slang words are fairly universal among hospitals, doctors, nurses - regardless of country, age, sex, etc. It is fair to say that none of the slang words are complimentary to patients - or if applied to other doctors or departments.Also, the slang is used among medical staff - and generally n [...]

    20. Not so much hidden, as it is the language every profession uses amongst themselves, as well as other health professionals. I don't agree with his conclusion that if providers are somehow better equipped to deal with difficult patients, people who won't follow provider advice, or people who abuse the system, then there would be no need for slang, or sometimes slang that's offensive, insulting or insensitive. Language, and slang in particular is a way of coping, and some of the things providers ar [...]

    21. Fairly entertaining, gives some insight into the slang used by doctors, such as "GOMER" ("get out of my emergency room" or "grand old man of the emergency room") to refer to patients seen as taking up valuable resources that could be better spent on a more deserving patient. Or detailed birthing plans as "Caesarian consent forms" because giving birth rarely goes to plan.

    22. Being a health care professional, there was a lot of this content that wasn't novelor not so secret. I found a lot of it went on and on a bit too muchrhaps for the uninformed reader, it might have held more interest.

    23. I was kind of meh about this book. While he did deliver on some of the ‘secret language’ mostly the book focuses on how much doctors dislike the obese, the elderly and the mentally ill. Want to be treated well by doctors? Don’t fall into one of those 3 categories.

    24. The topic is interesting, but not enough material to make a book. Some interesting anecdotes but a lot of padding and the book becomes a social commentary on medical ethics issues through the awkward lens of examining particular slang words.

    25. Wonderfully enlightening in this era of commercialized medicine.Understanding more about the practice of of medicine and hoe health practitioners become overly glorified brings home to me the need for me to take more responsibility and to have a advocate on hand at all times.

    26. As a fan if his radio show, I enjoyed hearing his voice in his writing. Sometimes his arguments weren't clearly supported. Interesting and good light non-fiction.

    27. Didn't read the whole thing, mostly because it is too boring. What I did read made me wonder why anyone would become a Dr.

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