Our (relatively) new EMR product has prompts and clicks for everything imaginable.  One of them, which we can use during the physical exam, is the long list of ‘constitutional’ findings that we perceive on generally looking over the patient.

They include things like:  obviously ill, comfortable, uncomfortable, pale, well nourished, well hydrated, well dressed, alert, chronically ill, contracted, emaciated and so on.

But these descriptors don’t always cut it.  I mean, people are both amazing and annoying, so why not add a few more to the list?

Here’s what I’d throw in there on the positive side:  beautiful, stylish, seductive, fit, solid, personable, amiable, good hand-shake, motivated, capable, supportive, supported, kind, gracious, patient, loving, peaceful, jovial, warm, inviting, educated, fascinating, cosmopolitan, humble, long-suffering, blessed, joyous, holy and inspiring.

On the other side, I’d use:  angry, annoyed, introspective, disembodied, terrifying, cruel, bitter,  manipulative, rapacious, profane, grasping, dramatic, nasty, disturbing, creepy, cruel, hateful, petty, seductive (yes, it could go either way, as a matter of fact!), felonious, hick, prude, arrogant, self-aggrandizing, xenophobic and misinformed.  For a start, that is.

As a disclaimer, all of these could be used to describe physicians as well, depending on their degree of rest, state of mind, level of fatigue and general humanity.

Words have power.  And I think these will convey the sense of the patient/doctor encounter far more precisely than your standard, ‘awake, alert, oriented.’


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