Thursday, October 13, 2005

Language Corruption: Doctor Appointments NOT "Baby Well-Visits"

You know how folks like to soften up the language for the sake of sensitivity or under the guise of clarification.

I had never heard of such a phrase (even with a young nephew and now a baby in the family), but while at a friend's house I overheard the wife talk about doctor visits for her children... however, she referred to them as "well-baby visits" or "baby well-visits".


Oh, for the days of my youth. What in the flamming hootie-hoo does that mean, why did someone come up with it, and why did other people repeat it?

When you bring your baby to the doctor for a check-up it's a check-up, a doctor visit, a doctor oppointment, or an appointment for shots.

This silly corruption came about sometime before 2000. On the Discovery Health Channel website, Doctor Eileen Mc Laughlin gives a description.
A well baby visit is when a newborn, infant, toddler, or young child has a routine physical exam at the doctor's office or clinic. This exam has several purposes. One goal is to check a child's physical growth and development. This can help the doctor find and address problems early. Another goal is to teach parents about healthy growth and development milestones. Regular exams are also a good time for the child to get immunizations. Childhood is a stage of physical and mental development. Providing the proper health care and guidance helps a child have a positive future. The chances of illness can be reduced with good preventive care. Problems can be detected and treated early.
Ah! Right there in the first sentance she provides another sensible phrase for old curmudgeons like me... routine physical exam.

Now, while shaking my head at this strange little euphemism, Mrs. Badda-Blogger (who is not a blogger, merely a patient, tolerant, and dutiful wife) happened to walk by and read part of this entry. She speculates that the phrase comes from an insurance definition that essentially breaks down to what comes out of your pocket versus what comes out of the insurance company.

For example, if you have a regular check-up with your pediatrician when your baby is nine months old it is a baby well-visit as the baby is not sick. However, if your baby has hives, pukes purple chunks, or cuts himself accidentally in a toy train mishap you bring your kid in because he is not well and you cough-up some or all of that cost (depending on your insurance policy).

Sounds like a believable reason. (When I say reason, I don't mean reasonable folks came up with the language... merely that it seems to follow a familiar pattern.)

It's just as annoying (and useless) as "wellness center" is compared to "doctor's office" or "hospital".



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