Medical language is for records, not for exam rooms.
In a recent Ontario pet owner survey only 35% of pet owners answered that their veterinarian “explained things thoroughly”. That means 65% didn’t understand well enough what their vet was trying to explain. This is embarrassing for the profession.
Reading this, I recalled the conversation I had with a client last night. The lady complained to me about a veterinary emergency clinic. I know that clinic quite well and I know they practice very high quality medicine and I would never hesitate to send my own pets there. Naturally I was very interested what she had to say:
“Dr. Marsig, you should have heard the doctor there talking. Nobody could understand her. It was all medical terms.” she said.
Vets love to use medical lingo that sounds very impressive… but the client isn’t impressed. Do we veterinarians really need to impress our clients with our knowledge? Nope. Do we need to present all details with academic precision? Nope. Do we need to protect ourselves from litigation by defining everything in Latin? Nope.
I believe our role is to listen to the client’s needs and THEN give all the information needed to help them to make the best decision for their pet.
We are a partner helping the pet owning families in Markham. Just like a friend of the family, we have to give that information in common English that can be understood.
Medical technical terms belong into the patient’s record, not into the exam room.
So, what do clients never tell us? … That we didn’t do a good job explaining.
It’s like in a restaurant when the server comes after the meal asking how everything was. We usually say fine, or good – even when the food wasn’t so. We just don’t want the server to feel bad.
At our Pet Hospital in Markham, I make sure that we don’t fall into the ‘Medical-Lingo-Trap’. And please, when you feel we didn’t explain well enough, let me know. I’ll make sure you won’t leave guessing what we said.
If you found this blog informative, please share it with your friends on Facebook .
Dr. Ernst Marsig
Practicing Veterinary Medicine in Markham for a Long and Happy Life of ALL Your Pets.
Animal Hospital of Unionville, a veterinary clinic on the north side of Hwy 7, serving all pets in Markham, Richmond Hill, Scarborough, Stouffville, and North York since 1966. We are your family vets for dogs, cats, pocket pets (rabbits, chinchillas, gerbils, mice, rats, hamsters, guinea pigs, skinny pigs, etc.), ferrets, and birds (budgies, cockatiel, parrots, amazon, cockatoo, love birds, conures, African greys, finches, canaries, etc.).
Disclaimer: No part of this website constitutes medical advice. Readers are advised to consult with their veterinarian.