Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Salve Medice. Latin a dead language? Long live Latin!


We at ND are quite proud of our collective life experiences in various parts of the medical, social and wider world(s) which we share with each other.

We believe we have a “skill mix” to “support and foster” the “primary health care team” and “its diversity” so lead us to a “gold standard general practice” with “equitable access” in Northernshire and hence provide “world class commissioned services” that involve the patient at every “key decision” on their “patient journey” to “empower” them to make the right “ NHS choice” for them and their family.

OK let us cut the bull and come to the point we do after all live in the real world of NHS General Practice.

One of the old fart school of medicine among our team went to a Northern state school where they were taught Latin by a teacher called Big John. This was a few decades ago and while Latin, like any language has different forms, for example medieval and ancient our team member had not used it since pre grunt training.

Imagine our collective response when this “well” educated member from the Northernshire state school told us that they had been presented with an MRI scan by a patient from an Eastern European country formally part of the Soviet Union. The patient had in broken English said:

“I have this report which you will be able to read . . .”

They then presented the MRI scans and the report to our team member. The scans we could have a guess at given our training.

The x-ray report, however, was typed in Latin in an Eastern European type font!

Titter ye not, it's wicked to mock the afflicted! Well it might be one of your own!

A first in Northernshire for the team!

Anybody else know better?

Praise be to the Party for Latin x-ray reports?

Thanks to teacher Big John all those years ago for allowing us to translate it and for our team member who had worked in an area of the world that had MRI scans many years before “world class” commissioning PCTs thought these might be useful for doctors. They were able to interpret both the scan and the report without using a language line.

The Party continue to use a modern variant of Latin and teach it to their managers which is why few understand a word they say. Bit like the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages before the Reformation? Use an incomprehensible language to confuse the peasants and maintain power via fear and ignorance?

Therefore it is back to the books: Grumio est in culina . . .

2 comments:

Jobbing Doctor said...

Salve, Amicus!

Sum in Ambulatorio, lavoram!

Per cena - crustum estruscum cum omnibus in eo!

Translation.

Hello, mate! I am at surgery, working.

For dinner - a pizza with everything on it!

M. said...

Then you will be thrilled to find this:
http://latinumstore.blogspot.com/2009/12/underwoods-latin-course-for-beginners.html

It is also downloadable for free from the Latin podcast
http://latinum.mypodcast.com

Latinum's issue in audio in November 2009 of Underwood's course in Latin for Medical Students is a unique offering. Underwood wrote his course for medical students taking the Latin examinations at London's Guild of Apothecaries and the Royal College of Physicians in the early 1800's.

These students, as non-Latin specialists, required a common-sense approach. The result is a very accessible beginner's Latin course. It would also be useful as a revision course for the more seasoned student, as it approaches the subject from a fresh angle.

I am very fond of this course - it is very well constructed - traditional in its approach, but, Underwood has a rare knack for being able to explain matters with great clarity.

Underwood wrote his course for the home school student - but advises of the need to find a Latin teacher who can teach pronunciation - the audio course supplies this requisite.

As the vocabulary and examples are drawn from Latin medical and chemical texts, much of this material will be somewhat familiar to the prospective student. This reduces the apparent strangeness of the language, and makes the course more accessible to a non specialist wishing to learn Latin. Needless to say, the course here outlined should be of great value to a student of medicine or pharmacology.

Latinum's audio course covers the entire grammar as laid out by Underwood, and the Latin syntax. Underwood, in his introduction, makes a very important observation; it is, he says, vitally important to read - so get your hands on an interlinear text, and start to read, or listen to bilingual Latin texts provided by Latinum for this purpose - for we are thoroughly in agreement with Mr Underwood with regard to this point: a large volume of reading is an absolute necessity if certain progress is to be made in the aquisition of the language.