Sunday, September 9, 2007

More Homonyms

Keeping in mind how homonyms which are not spelled out for a medical transcriptionist can effect grotesque changes in a patient's record, try to think about what happens when a physician uses medical slang that can be interpreted in several ways. For example:
Physicians frequently like to say that a patient was given a dose of a medication which, if translated phonetically, would be spelled "d-i-d-j." What they expect to see typed are the letters "d-i-g" (which has a very different meaning and, phonetically, would be read as "digg").

In this situation, there is a medical as well as a phonetic problem. Why? Because the physician who dictates "didj" could be referring to:

  • Digitalis

  • Digitoxin

  • Digoxin

  • Digibind

  • Digidote

These medications do not all have the same effect (Digibind and Digidote are antidotes to a digitalis/digitoxin overdose). But, from the one sound used by the dictating physician to identify the medication ("didj"), the transcriptionist is expected to choose from five potential items.

A good transcriptionist might be able to guess the correct answer, but would not know for sure which medication was indicated. As the person rendering medical care, it is the job of the dictating physician to clearly identify which medication he has prescribed for a patient.

Next: Homographs

[Table of Contents] [Cartoons]
[Home] [Exercises] [Worksheets]

No comments: