Say Again? Episode 2

When interviewing a female about her medical history, specifically as it regarded her reproductive history:

Have you had any pregnancies?

Yes, I have had two pregnancies and have one child.

Oh, what happened with the other pregnancy?

It was a two hole pregnancy, so I had to have a surgery.

Ah. I’m taking from these interactions that 1) docs aren’t very good at explaining things and 2) people need to understand what’s going on, so they use words that make sense to them. Seems reasonable to me, though occasionally amusing.


  1. I made the realization early, in medical school, when my landlord said he’d been diagnosed with a ligament tumor of the prospect gland. Ever since, I’ve tried to make things clear as I can, avoiding medical jargon when possible. Draw pictures. Still, despite all effort, and given that most explanations are given to a person trying not to totally freak out, it’s not a surprise that much of it doesn’t get across. Fireballs of the you-tricks. Smilin’ mind of Jesus.

  2. Once when I was taking a family history a woman told me that she didn’t know exactly what her father had died of 20 years prior but that she (and the entire family) had carefully memorised the medical explanation her mother had been given at the time.

    He’d died, apparently, of a Corny Occusson.

    (Coronary Occlusion)