Claim: Humorous list compiles a collection of howlers gleaned from patients’ medical charts.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, 2003]
In 2002 a physician friend sent us the following list of howlers supposedly gleaned over the years from various medical charts.
ACTUAL SENTENCES FOUND IN PATIENTS’ HOSPITAL CHARTS
Origins: This item is a subset of a larger list that appeared in one of Richard Lederer’s several “Anguished English” collections of humorously mangled language, The Bride of Anguished English (2000), where the entries were described as “real-life doctors’ dictations” submitted by the American Association of Medical Transcriptionists.
Substantiating whether every item on the list was an actual transcription of a doctor’s instructions or whether some transcriptionists also slipped in funny one-liners they heard about but didn’t actually see as written instructions
would be extremely difficult; however, many of these entries seem like remarks that could easily have wended their ways into medical charts or patients’ files. Some items reflect instances of standard verbal shorthand used by those of the medical profession who frequent hospitals — for instance, “The pelvic exam will be done later on the floor” could well have come from an admission
Barbara “doctored” Mikkelson
Last updated: 29 June 2007
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