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The Secret Language Of Doctors

3.52  ·  Rating Details ·  180 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published April 29th 2014 by HarperCollins Publishers
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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
Canadian Reader
Jul 11, 2016 Canadian Reader rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, medicine
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 ...more
Angela Misri
Sep 06, 2014 Angela Misri rated it it was amazing
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 ...more
Jun 10, 2016 StMargarets rated it liked it
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
Apr 30, 2014 Louise rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
HarperCollins|April 29, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-44341-601-6
Have 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
Steve Goodyear
Nov 30, 2014 Steve Goodyear rated it really liked it
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.
Marianne Perry
May 25, 2016 Marianne Perry rated it really liked it
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
Feb 12, 2015 Kyle rated it it was ok
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
Nov 20, 2014 Chung-yee rated it liked it
Humourous stories to decode those "interesting" diagnostic language. Couldn't stop laughing about Code Browns.
Heather Burke
Oct 19, 2016 Heather Burke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Oct 13, 2016 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really interesting, although sort of disturbing too. Definitely worth a read.
Sep 18, 2016 Kath rated it liked it
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 ways...but 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 ...more
Garth Mailman
Jan 25, 2016 Garth Mailman rated it it was amazing
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
Laura Hogan
Sep 05, 2016 Laura Hogan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medicine
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 ...more
Jul 10, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 14, 2016 Erika rated it liked it
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
Sep 23, 2015 Bonnie rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
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
Paul Childs
Jul 27, 2014 Paul Childs rated it liked it
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 ...more
Jul 11, 2016 Stephen rated it really liked it
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.
Carie Gall
Sep 13, 2015 Carie Gall rated it it was ok
Being a health care professional, there was a lot of this content that wasn't novel...or not so secret. I found a lot of it went on and on a bit too much....perhaps for the uninformed reader, it might have held more interest.
Chris Thomas
Nov 29, 2016 Chris Thomas rated it liked it
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.
Tom Yurkiw
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.
Margaret Bryant
Aug 08, 2014 Margaret Bryant rated it really liked it
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.
Dorothy Lloyd
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.
Sarah rated it liked it
Jan 02, 2015
Taryn rated it really liked it
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Dec 29, 2014
Julie rated it really liked it
Aug 11, 2015
Emilee Reynolds
Emilee Reynolds rated it really liked it
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Liz Touchette
Liz Touchette rated it did not like it
Aug 13, 2014
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