Bloopers in Medical Transcription?

January 13, 2007 12:51am CST
Medical Transcriptionists (M.Ts) are a type of professional translators, who decode and type into English, the professional jargon of doctors when they make a diagnosis or treatment. This service is generally required by doctors who are too busy to actually write/type down all the details of symptoms/anatomy/physiology/pathology/pharmacology/treatment, that are legally required to be performed while they examine their patients. For example, the doctor’s diagnosis & recommendations / treatment would be a few scribbled lines, or a few words of medical jargon spoken into a voice recorder. But these ‘few lines’ or ‘few words’ will have to be transcribed (understood, and typed down in English in detail by an M.T). Further, in cases of surgery/medicinal treatment where the patient’s life may be at risk, it is understood that a really dependable M.T would include all the legal formalities, such as typing down documents that would indemnify (protect) the doctor against legal action in case the patient suffers loss of organ/body functions/death during operation/treatment. The payment is very low - only a few cents per page - of typewritten material. This is not an attractive proposition for Americans or Europeans, but there are hundreds of thousands of M.T.s in economically backward or developing countries of Asia. Not all M.T.s are really good at English or have broad interpretation of the ‘good’ doctor’s jargon. This sometimes leads to ‘true (literal) translations’ – causing some of the following (well-intentioned) bloopers ! Can you add to these? (Source: Richard Lederer in his book ‘Fractured English’) • She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states that she was very hot in bed last night. • Since the patient stopped smoking, his smell has returned. • The patient is a 65 – year old woman who fell, and this fall was complicated by a truck rolling over her. • For his impotence we will discontinue the treatment and let his wife handle him. • She is quite hard of hearing. As a matter of fact, she can’t hear at all in the left eye. • The patient was bitten by a flying bat as he was walking down the street on his thumb.
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