Plain English please!

I take an Arabic speaking friend to the hospital for her pre –op appointment where she is checked over for general good health. The procedure she is about to undergo, the risks and the aftercare are explained. Despite obvious evidence that my friend’s grasp of English is rudimentary, the admitting nurse turns to her and begins to speak hospitalese:

” As soon after recovery from anaesthetic as is feasable you will need to minimise the risk of developing a DVT by maximising your ambulatory capacity. You’ll also need to maintain hydration by taking fluids. Prior to the surgical procedure we’ll apply TED stockings to your lower limbs and your bed will be fitted with a ripple mattress.”

My friend looks at me quizzically. I explain that after the operation she needs to walk around the ward rather than stay in bed and that she needs to drink a lot –water ,juice, tea, coffee even if she doesn’t want to eat. I also demonstarte that she will be asked to put on special white stockings on her legs to help the blood pump around her body and that the matress on her bed will have an electric pump which will pump air around the mattress to keep her both comfortable and safe.

My friend smiles and breathes a sigh of relief. ” Ok, no problem, thankyou.”


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