Here's a letter I wrote to the National Academy of Nursing Vocabulary last week regarding my concerns about an epidemic of gram positive cockeye sweeping our hospitals. You think the flu was bad this year? You think C diff is bad. You have no idea how aggressive the cockeye has been.
Dear Academy,With that said, I once had an unexpected response from a 95 year old lady. When I told her she had cockeye, she thanked me for the opportunity to experience cockeye one last time before she died of unnatural causes at the hands of her cocci infested doctors.I think this medical someecard summarizes this epidemic of hospital acquired tragedy.
I have been a practicing hospitalist now for ten years. I want to commend your organization's mission to improve nursing vocabulary. Helping nurses achieve proficiency in medical terminology is important for doctor-nurse and nurse-nurse communication of critical patient information. Quite obviously, some nursing schools do not make this a top priority. Your contributions to the field of nursing are important in many regards. I rarely hear mispronunciation of meto-pro-lol or at-in-ol any more. I understand your nursing organization has made an aggressive push into the field of cardiac pronunciation. Your efforts do not go unnoticed. You have nipped these mispronunciations in the bud.
However, I feel you have failed miserably in the field of infectious disease. I continue to experience grave concerns regarding correct pronunciation in the transfer of critical blood culture notification results from nursing staff to physician staff. I have specific concerns about gram positive cocci (pronounced kok-sahy). There should be no debate about pronouncing gram positive cocci. Unfortunately, patients and doctors have experienced grave harm when nurses inform doctors their patients have the cockeye instead.
When I tell my patients they have cockeye they look at me with shock and horror. I've had a few patients slap me silly. I apologize and tell them they must have caught cockeye from their nurse. In my decade of hospitalist medicine, I have been assaulted numerous times and faced dozens of lawsuits from patients claiming they got hospital acquired cockeye. Families are angry. Patients are scared. They want answers. Unfortunately, I have to tell them the only treatment for their gram positive cockeye is more aggressive intervention by national organizations like yourself. Unfortunately, that process takes years and they don't have years. Telling patieints they have gram positive cockeye in their blood is a drag on patient satisfaction and disrupts the trust patients have in medical staff. I believe your organization should make correct pronunciation of gram positive cocci a top priority for 2013.