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Perissomists, Philiaters and Iatrapistias: Medical Words You Don't Know



Have Mac Will Blog posted an interesting list of 10 Medical Words You Don’t Know


Perissotomist: House, bless his heart, is not a perissotomist, in fact he rarely enters the operating theater because he’s not a surgeon.

Surgeons must be very careful
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions
Stirs the Culprit - Life!

Well said, Emily Dickinson. A perissotomist is the kind of surgeon you hope never to encounter. A perissotomist is a knife-happy surgeon - the kind of practitioner who is a cut or two above the rest. There is scant information available on this word, partly I guess, because it is used only in circumstances where a surgeon is inclined to carry out “ectomies” inappropriately or even accidentally. (I don’t know whether “ectomies” ever happen accidentally but if you wake up from an operation to discover that you’ve experienced an accidental orchidectomy - my advice is to sue the perissotomist responsible.)


Philiater: A philiater is someone who is deeply interested in the study of medicine. The term can thus be used to describe medical students but it also applies to amateurs. Given the medical information currently available on the Internet one could maintain that many of us are philiaters now, at least where our own health is concerned. It must be galling to the medical profession, who once were the sole custodians of medical knowledge, to have a digital second opinion, sitting there waiting to be consulted, out on the Internet. A little knowledge may be a dangerous thing of course, but there is a clear upside.



Iatrapistia: Whether you experience iatrapistia depends upon context. Iatrapistia refers to a lack of faith in the medical system and, looking at it in the broadest context, you might become iatrapistic in respect of the American medical system, because it is so economically inefficient. My brief encounters with American medical system have been positive in terms of skill and professionalism and so it’s difficult to be iatrapistic about US medical care. Nevertheless, the US health care system accounts for about 18% of the US economy, yet achieves less than in terms of general health than almost every health service in any other advanced economy, all of which are significantly less expensive. The system is clearly broken in a fundamental way.




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Reader Comments (3)

Iatrapistia! Ah, my new favorite word!

June 30, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpampered_mom

My husband has something stronger than Iatrapistia. He has panic attacks just walking into a hospital even to visit someone. (And yet he's been right by my side for the births of all of our children!)

September 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle

I wonder if one can be an iatraphobe?

September 9, 2009 | Registered CommenterJill
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