Monday, June 30, 2008

Ask who?

I feel for patients, really I do. Medical school teaches doctors to use stupid words like umbilicus instead of belly button or abbreviations like BOOP (for bronchiolitis obliterans organizing pneumonia). We tend to throw words around like everyone else should get it. When, of course, they probably shouldn't.

One abbreviation I discuss a lot with patients is ASCUS. It's a common abnomal finding on a Pap smear (the test for cervical cancer). We usually pronounce it like it looks, with a hard C. It stands for Atypical Squamous Cells of Undertermined Significance. That's so we docs can say "Uhhh...dunno" and still sound smart.

Today I saw a new patient. She told me that years ago she had an abnormal Pap, but since then it had always been normal.

It was an ASK ME.


SOCKS said...


TBTAM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TBTAM said...

ASCUS is a shorter way of writing what it really means which is "I don't know what the _ is going on with this pap" or "IDKWTFIGOWTP"

Lin said...


Dr. Smak said...

I was trying to compose some sort of "who's on first" dialogue, but I wasn't clever enough.

How was your last pap?
I just did. Answer me.
I just did. ASKME.

TMTAM - I like your abbreviation much better, and honestly, wouldn't that be easier to explain to patients? You should suggest it to ACOG.

pisceshanna said...

Christ. As if the female reproductive system isn't complicated enough. I've had a baby and been of "Reproductive age" for over 10 years now, and I still don't understand how my girl parts work. When I go to get a pap, I usually just smile and nodd when I get my results.

Anonymous said...

Dr. S, thx for entertaining me.

rlbates said...

The post and comments are great fun! Thanks