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Health & Fitness Health Care Issues

The Secret Language Of Doctors

by (author) Brian Goldman

Initial publish date
May 2015
Health Care Issues
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    May 2015
    List Price

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Where to buy it



All of us have visited the doctor or sat in the emergency room for long hours awaiting treatment. When we finally do reach the other side of the swinging doors, we enter into what seems like another world, with practitioners in white coats and scrub suits speeding from patient to patient, consulting with one another amid controlled chaos. Beneath the cacophony of medical equipment and routine codes announced over the loudspeaker, doctors and nurses use a kind of secret language, usually out of earshot of their patients but sometimes in front of them. The words you'll learn in this book are not expressions that you'll likely find in a medical textbook or even hear on a television show. In fact, most health professionals would rather you didn't know that this underground language exists at all.

In The Secret Language of Doctors, bestselling author Dr. Brian Goldman pulls back the curtain to reveal some of medicine's darkest modern secrets, decoding the colourful and clandestine expressions doctors employ to describe difficult patients, situations and medical conditions—and sometimes even other colleagues. You'll discover what it means to exhibit the symptoms of "incarceritis," what "blocking" and "turfing" are, and why you never want to be diagnosed with a "horrendoma." In the process, you'll gain profound insight into what doctors really think about their patients' personalities and even their chances of making it out of the hospital alive.

Highly accessible, biting, funny and entertaining, The Secret Language of Doctors reveals modern medical culture at its best and all too often at its worst.

About the author

BRIAN GOLDMAN is an emergency physician at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital and the host of CBC Radio's award-winning program White Coat, Black Art. His inspiring yet bracingly honest TEDx talk about medical errors—which has been viewed on the Internet almost one million times—has cemented his reputation as one of his generation's keenest observers of the culture of modern medicine. The author of the acclaimed book The Night Shift, Dr. Goldman lives in Toronto with his wife and two children.

Brian Goldman's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“Goldman’s fascinating book is also a relentlessly honest one.” — Toronto Star

“A veritable dictionary of verbal shorthand used by many physicians, nurses and other health professionals to discuss—and often diss—various types of patients and even their own colleagues.” — National Post

“Disturbing and hilarious, sometimes concurrently.” — Winnipeg Free Press

“A rare glimpse behind-the-scenes of Canada’s healthcare system.” — Chatelaine

The Secret Language of Doctors takes us behind the curtain and, in doing so, reveals fascinating insight on the practice of medicine, warts and all.” — André Picard, Health Columnist, The Globe and Mail

“Essential for all of us who depend on doctors (quite literally) to help us live longer and better. Goldman writes in a fun, brisk, accessible style—and the tales he recounts are both funny and sobering. Goldman is, without qualification, the most interesting doc around.” — Warren Kinsella