I used to work as a medical secretary in the National Health Service in my pre-teacher days. I remember one doctor telling me that, if he had an awkward patient, he would warn the next doctor to see that person by writing at the end of the patient's notes 'is suffering from serious proctalgia'. As 'algia' means 'pain' and 'proct' means 'bottom', you can see that this wasn't exactly a compliment.
Another source of medical misunderstandings - only this time not deliberate - was when we secretaries used to take doctors' letters down in shorthand before typing them up for signature. When I was first a medical secretary and didn't yet know all the terms, one doctor dictated to me what I THOUGHT was ... 'I recommend this patient has a Baloney amputation'. I presumed that there'd been a Dr Baloney who'd invented this operation, although I'd not heard of it before.
I duly typed it up in the letter and it was only when I put the letter in front of the doctor and he had a fit of the giggles that I realised I had made a mistake.
He'd said 'below-knee'.
That wasn't as bad as another medical secretary in our office whose doctor had dictated that a patient should have a 'D & C' (dilettation and curettage - a womb procedure).
She'd typed, 'I recommend your patient should have a day at the sea.'
|'Yay! Didn't think you could get this kind of thing prescribed on the National Health!! I wonder if|
they'd fund a few weeks in Hawaii?'