Know Your Enemies: DOCTORS

There has been an ever more noticeable drop in the ever lower standards of doctors’ English in Britain, which we decent linguists have learned the hard way about, from bitter personal experience (having spent so long squinting at scribbled prescriptions as to necessitate a visit to the optician, and so long complaining about it that we contracted laryngitis).    This proves that something drastic will need to be done.

If a doctor’s grasp of the five simple rules of punctuation is deemed by us to be unsatisfactory, or his – although we do not normally stray into prescribing which style of handwriting is incorrect – handwriting is deemed by us to be illegible, or contain Js that look like
Js (a common error that could easily lead to a “John” being labelled a “Uohn” and prescribed the wrong type of jablets), he must be forced to answer for his crimes before the General Medical Literacy Council, a planned subsidiary of the Académie von anglais.     If the court deem him an unsafe practicioner and a risk to the public and our children, and he fail our Cryptic Exam of Pet Peeves, he shall be struck from the medical register!     This policy will probably be deeply unpopular in the medical community, but they have a clear vested interest and their opinions must therefore be treated with a great deal of suspicion and morphine.

We grammarians, and the Tax-Paying Persons (TaPPs) of Britain, cannot tolerate illiterate doctors who have wasted seven years of their collective lives learning how to tie a bandage instead of how to speak English.   In so doing, therefore, doctors are squandering TaPPs’ money on an education that doesn’t even involve, “I before E, except after C and when pronounced as /εI/ as in ‘weigh’ or occasionally when pronounced as /aI/ in ‘height’ or /i/ as in ‘protein’ as well as the odd plural form, e.g., ‘frequencies’.”    It is a very simple rule, and the solution to the problem of our Dumb Doctors is equally simple.

The English language is dying of interminable brain-loss, and to cure this we need all the linguistic doctors we can find.    What we, however, do NOT need, are doctors who are unable to read and write!    Why don’t schools teach this?  [thumps desk with fist]

Martin Estinel makes a similar proposal here.

Next bad enemy: TRAINS >
Full Enmity List

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