Word Ways


Willard R. Epsy


Profanity, obscenity and violence are slipping into medical terminology and phraseology unobtrusively through the back door of the acronymal abbreviation. When quoted as an acronym, coronary artery disease becumes an insulting CAD, secondary carcinoma of the upper mediastinum turns into SCUM, thyroid uptake gradient transforms into THUG, and right atrial pressure elevation transmutes into RAPE. Medical papers abound in such vulgarisms as GIP (gonorrheal invasive peritonitis), HOG (hepatic output of glucose), IMP (idiopathic myeloid proliferation) and HOOD (hyperbaric oxygen ongoing delivery).