1 white-coat ceremony (n.)
The ritual moment for students starting medical school when they put on their white coats for the first time, signifying their entry into the profession.
2 EBM medicine (n.)
Obvious though this might seem, “evidence-based medicine” (EBM) denotes an approach to medical care that has been proven by evidence; most approaches are in fact not evidence-based, or only partially so. The approach assesses the strength of evidence of the risks and benefits of treatments (including lack of treatment) and diagnostic tests, and takes account of the fact that many aspects of health care depend on individual factors such as quality- and value-of-life judgments, which are only partially subject to scientific methods.
3 hospitalist (n.)
A new subspecialty of doctors who take care only of patients in hospitals.
4 nocturnalist (n.)
Another new type of doctor: those who cover evenings and nights in hospitals.
5 concierge doctor (n.)
Yet another fairly recent species: doctors who take no insurance and are paid up-front, but who make themselves available 24/7 to patients who can pay.
6 graveyard shift (n.)
An emergency room’s busiest shift, from 12 midnight to 8 a.m.—during which in the old days a patient was also most likely to actually end up in the graveyard.
7 gomer (n.)
Stands for “get out of my emergency room”—shorthand for a recidivist patient who comes into the hospital over and over again but has no real organic problem.
8 septicemic (adj.)
A septicemic patient is a very sick one with bacteria circulating in his or her bloodstream.
9 SIRS (n.)
Systemic inflammatory response syndrome, in which many organs shut down simultaneously in response to septicemia.
10 Q-sign (n.)
When a patient’s tongue hangs sideways out of his or her mouth—not usually a good indicator of consciousness!—MICHELE BARRY
Michèle Barry, M.D., F.A.C.P., taught medicine at Yale Medical School for 30 years and is now a professor of medicine and tropical diseases at Stanford University and the director of its Center for Innovation in Global Health.