A Piece of My Mind Section Editor: Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.
A medical student was presenting the story of the patient she had admitted the previous night: “ . . . he also complained of increasing edema in his bilateral lower extremities . . . .”
I was struck by the phrase “bilateral lower extremities.” Three words. Ten syllables. Bi-lat-er-al low-er ex-trem-i-ties. Why not “both legs”? Two words. Two syllables. Why had this student, like virtually every student I’ve worked with recently, chosen this unwieldy phrase?
Hirschtick R. Extremities. JAMA. 2008;300(10):1125-1126. doi:10.1001/jama.300.10.1125