Periodically, our feathers become ruffled about the use or misuse of English in dermatology. 1, 2 We have railed against the derogatory term for crusted scabies3, suggested a contrived term to lessen the burden connoted by decubitus ulcers4, and discouraged renaming atopic dermatitis to atopiform dermatitis. 5 Imagine what the dermatologic lexicographers, Morris Leider (1908-1987) 6and Morris Rosenbaum, might be saying were they here today. 7
Using an appropriate word or words to describe an anatomic part or a portion of the skin is just good medical practice. We do not believe a lightning bolt will descend as portrayed in one wax model8, if we do not adhere to the rules and regulations of scientific American English. We do pay homage to the late Herman Beerman (1901-1995) 9, Professor of Dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania who was appalled at discussing a positive serology in diagnosing syphilis, as the RPR, Hinton, Eagles, or Kolmer test only had the ability to be reactive or non-reactive and not to make a diagnosis without clinical findings. The use of abbreviations has grown so much from the innocuous HUP for Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania that would annoy the late Ira Leo Schamberg (1909-1980) to the Joint Commission’s (Joint Commission on Hospital Accreditation’s) condemnation of several abbreviations in medical records; i.e. tid, prn, gr.
Recommended CitationParish, Lawrence Charles and Lambert, W. Clark, "Speaking Good (and Safe) Dermatologic English" (2019). Department of Dermatology and Cutaneous Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 117.