Archive for Medicalese

Haldol: The Wonder Drug?

Wonder drug?

I am not a medical expert.

I am not a medication expert.

I know nearly nothing about drugs.

I have never met a pill I wanted to take.

Is that blatant enough about my ignorance so my next thoughts are taken with a grain of salt? Nay, not a mere grain. It would be better to imagine an overflowing wheelbarrow of Morton’s when-it-rains-it-pours overpriced sodium!

Since I’ve confirmed my lack of qualifications, let me share a few biased opinions about . . .

Haldol

Ever heard of it? Read More →

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Should You Titrate?

Different people

In medicine, as in life, one size does not fit all.

The word titrate sounds like a poorly-named household cleaning product.

Until working in hospice, and hanging around nurses and physicians, I don’t recall hearing or using titrate in a sentence. It might have been mentioned on shows like House, Chicago Med or Grey’s Anatomy, but I was probably more fascinated by the shenanigans in the supply closet between two doctors in lust.

With no medical or chemistry background, I have excellent excuses for my ignorance.

In a patient care meeting, when a nurse asked a doctor about titrating the new medication for a patient, I’d keep a straight face. I’d maybe give a brief neutral nod, and then hoped there wouldn’t be a snap quiz after the coffee break. Fortunately, while ignorance is one of my dominate genes, I’m equally curious about nearly everything! I own bunches of dictionaries and thesauruses! I can search the web! I can talk to a nurse! Read More →

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Watch Out for HIPAA!

Hippo

HIPAA . . . or did you say Hippo?

When hearing the acronym HIPAA, I often imagine a hippo.

A hippopotamus (meaning water horse from the Greek) is the third largest land animal. Cumbersome and thick-skinned, it appears to have been created by a committee forced into decisions before a deadline eliminated funding. Remarkably, the massive mammal is fast, whether running or swimming. Don’t linger if a hippo suddenly veers toward you for a meet and greet!

Maybe I think of hippo and HIPAA for another reason: The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) could also be labeled big and cumbersome.

Don’t get in its way either!

HIPAA irks me. I rarely remember the acronym’s letters: HIPPA, HPPA, or HIPAH? And I usually fail to correctly identify what each of the letters represent. Doesn’t the “I” mean Information and shouldn’t the “P” be for Patient? Why, please, was the awkward “portability” ever considered as a useful word for the average consumer?

And HIPAA was designed with the average consumer in mind. The simplest way of understanding HIPAA is that it protects an individual’s medical and health data. (If you want a more complicated official explanation, you can look here.) Every health-related agency, including hospices, must follow HIPAA guidelines. If HIPAA is the Pied Piper, health care agencies are the ones trailing right behind. Every consumer—a.k.a., you the citizen, you the patient, you who accumulates massive amounts of health-related data from birth—is guaranteed privacy because of the 1996 act passed during President Clinton’s administration.

My dislike of HIPAA has other reasons. Read More →

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