January 18, 1980

Faulty Communications

Author Affiliations

Grant Hospital Columbus, Ohio

JAMA. 1980;243(3):231. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300290015010

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To the Editor.—  Regarding the letter by Barry M. Martin, MD (242:1361, 1979), "Communication With the Radiologist," I want to say that when a laboratory asks for the reason for a test request, it gets funny answers too: for a throat culture, "horseness." When we ask what is wrong with this patient, we too get "broken leg." When we then ask why a urine culture was ordered, we are apt to hear "Because the doctor ordered it."Laboratory requisitions are also written by ward clerks. Requests have included "BRP," appended to a long list of "CBC," "UA," "C&S," "etc," and we finally determined these abbreviations to mean "bathroom privileges"; "stool for cell manella"; "culture of come on duck"; "yearn for Dr H"; "culture for etc"; "routine urinalysis, finger stick, please"; "sputum for electrolytes"; and "blood culture for occult blood."We also get interesting specimens brought in from home: One patient,