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Doctor's Scrawl

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Thinker13
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Posted 05/20/12 - 5:28 AM:
Subject: Doctor's Scrawl
Right since my childhood days, I have heard innumerable jokes on illegible, hurried and scary scribble of doctors. I think, almost all of us have heard them some time or another. I used to get compliments for my scrawl and it has been compared to that of doctor's too often to count now. I used to wonder about it when I was young. I used to speculate about the causes for doctor's scrawl. In my case, it was a great deal of speed of scribbling, along with a lack of any urge to make it legible. I used to scribble for facilitating my own thought process; therefore it was never a need to make it legible for others. But it's not so in case of doctors.


I used to think that since doctors have studied a lot, they had to scribble a lot and that is why their handwriting has turned into scrawl. This impression stayed with me until I was in college. But later on, I came to know that doctors were not any greater or prolific scribblers than students of other branches of Science. Then I started taking a keen interest in Graphology. What might have caused this shipwrecked scribble of doctors?

You never know, actually; Graphology would tell that an illegible script might suggest that they have a subconscious urge for not being read. What in the name of holy ass hub? Do I mean to say that doctors don't want prescriptions to be read properly? In which case, they just want their patients to get any medicines, which might cause reactions and might end up putting lives of many of them in danger!

I would not be judgemental in this regard. This might be just because they're busy making too many bucks in too short a time span, therefore they're always in too much of hurry. This sounds a bit less ominous a conjecture than the previous one, because a desire to grow rich is common amongst social servants compared to an urge to make them ill or die. But facts do speak something in favour of the previous speculation:

article wrote:
"Doctors' illegible handwriting causes 7,000 deaths in the US every year and another 1.5 million Americans report minor adverse reactions-be it diarrhoea or rashes-or even death."


In India, we don't have such clear-cut estimates as studies have not been carried out in this regard yet. But this article says:

Now, a movement has begun in Mumbai asking the medical fraternity to write prescriptions in "separate, capital letters". The brainchild of an NGO called the Forum for Enhancement of Quality in Healthcare (FEQH) and the Quality Council of India (a semi-government organization accrediting services), the first meeting on the issue held last week was attended by representatives of medical associations and NGOs. The campaign borrows from QCI's hospital accreditation system called the National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH) which requires prescriptions to be written in capital letters. "We don't have an estimate of how many people suffer or die because prescriptions written by doctors couldn't be deciphered by pharmacists. But going by the US estimates, we can be sure that India, where 40 lakh prescriptions are written every day, has a fair share of errors," said FEQH chairperson Prakash Gadgil.



What exactly causes doctor's scrawl in your opinion?
thedoc
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Posted 05/20/12 - 7:02 AM:

Again part of the difficulty is that some of what they write is in Latin which is illegable to most people anyhow, but bad handwriting is not exclusive to medical doctors, it's just that the consiquences can be much more serious.
Thinker13
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Posted 05/20/12 - 8:39 AM:

thedoc wrote:
Again part of the difficulty is that some of what they write is in Latin which is illegable to most people anyhow, but bad handwriting is not exclusive to medical doctors, it's just that the consiquences can be much more serious.



True. Here, in India though, most of what they write is in English.
Samvega
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Posted 05/23/12 - 1:21 PM:

Having come from a family of physicians and healthcare workers, I can confirm that not only doctors but also pharmacists have totally illegible writing.

Thinker13 wrote:

You never know, actually; Graphology would tell that an illegible script might suggest that they have a subconscious urge for not being read.


I have no idea if this is true, but if it is, perhaps it comes down to the opacity of the doctor's knowledge.

In ancient times, while there were medical 'specialists' - healers or shamans or witches - most people understood at least a little of the healing arts and in principle this knowledge could be shared relatively easily.

But now, in our modern system of medicine, the workings of medical technology and the knowledge of the doctor is opaque to the patient. Knowledge is held in a black box, which only the expert (the doctor) has access to, and it is by virtue of this fact that they belong to a professional class. There is now a distinction between the expert and the "layman". In the modern world, the patient is rendered powerless and ignorant before the expert and their protected field of k knowledge. The doctor's illegible scribble is a kind of unconscious reproduction of the dynamics of knowledge and power, both in the medical profession and in society at large. It is because their knowledge is occluded that "experts" have power of the rest of us. Because we can't know what they know, we hand over decision making to them and are forced to hope that they have our best interests at heart.

This arrangement, of course, has begun to be challenged on several fronts. The internet is probably the biggest game changer, since it gives patients access to a wealth of medical information. Patients can now research their own conditions and courses of treatment. Many of the varieties of alternative medicine as well do not have such a sharp distinction between doctor and patient, and some of these disciplines are more akin to the earlier arrangement of healers rather than "experts".

If this is true, it would be interesting to see if doctor's handwriting has gotten worse over the years, as an unconscious response to the unraveling of their authority. The increasingly illegible signature is a compensation for the erosion of the doctor's authority, and the opening up of the previously occluded field of knowledge.

Of course, the more mundane answer is that doctors spend their days writing prescriptions, and so they end up just scribbling because they are too busy to bother with nice, fine print.

Use of the internet has probably not helped anybody's handwriting - I know mine has degraded over the years due to keyboard use. My hands have simply gotten lazy.
libertygrl
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Posted 05/23/12 - 3:28 PM:

Hi Sam, welcome back, you were missed smiling face

In my study of graphology, I was taught that illegible writing was typically a sign of arrogance, which could very well be true of most doctors. I was also taught that very legible writing is a sign of wanting to communicate clearly. Illegible writing could be a sign of various things - one possibility is that the person is trying to deliberately be misunderstood, which I think is a less frequent explanation. Another less frequent explanation is some form of illness. More commonly, the person simply does not care whether anyone understands it or not - they are not seeking anyone's acceptance or approval.

In the case of a doctor, or a pharmacist, you would think that emphasis on communicating clearly should be of utmost importance. However, the way one's subconscious values influence their handwriting is very strong and can very easily override conscious ideals. This is why graphology is such a revealing pursuit. This is also why (IMO) the problem of medication errors is so rampant.

Sam, you also make the point about expediency, and yes I agree, that is also a factor. I work for a doctor, and yes the task of writing out a prescription is a tedious one and one i'm sure he is most often eager to be done with. Still, if you were to examine a doctor's regular handwriting, while addressing a Christmas card or some personal item on which he would presumably use his best writing, you would still find it typically illegible compared to the usual writing of, say, a teacher.

Now that we've converted to an electronic medical records system, almost all prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy electronically, which will overall greatly reduce the margin for error, although not eradicate it 100%.
Thinker13
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Posted 05/24/12 - 11:26 PM:

Samvega wrote:
Having come from a family of physicians and healthcare workers, I can confirm that not only doctors but also pharmacists have totally illegible writing.


This information about pharmacists is new to me. Do they follow in the footsteps of doctors?

This could again bring some ideas about pharmacists.





Samvega wrote:

I have no idea if this is true, but if it is, perhaps it comes down to the opacity of the doctor's knowledge.

In ancient times, while there were medical 'specialists' - healers or shamans or witches - most people understood at least a little of the healing arts and in principle this knowledge could be shared relatively easily.

But now, in our modern system of medicine, the workings of medical technology and the knowledge of the doctor is opaque to the patient. Knowledge is held in a black box, which only the expert (the doctor) has access to, and it is by virtue of this fact that they belong to a professional class. There is now a distinction between the expert and the "layman". In the modern world, the patient is rendered powerless and ignorant before the expert and their protected field of k knowledge. The doctor's illegible scribble is a kind of unconscious reproduction of the dynamics of knowledge and power, both in the medical profession and in society at large. It is because their knowledge is occluded that "experts" have power of the rest of us. Because we can't know what they know, we hand over decision making to them and are forced to hope that they have our best interests at heart.


I think it should be "subconscious" reproduction. But this 'expertise' of professionals doesn't tend to make all of them use illegible handwriting, does it? Why this hiding of knowledge should be more pronounced in case of medical professionals only?


Samvega wrote:

This arrangement, of course, has begun to be challenged on several fronts. The internet is probably the biggest game changer, since it gives patients access to a wealth of medical information. Patients can now research their own conditions and courses of treatment. Many of the varieties of alternative medicine as well do not have such a sharp distinction between doctor and patient, and some of these disciplines are more akin to the earlier arrangement of healers rather than "experts".


I agree.

Samvega wrote:

If this is true, it would be interesting to see if doctor's handwriting has gotten worse over the years, as an unconscious response to the unraveling of their authority. The increasingly illegible signature is a compensation for the erosion of the doctor's authority, and the opening up of the previously occluded field of knowledge.


This could be a good experiment, in countries where doctors still don't use typewritten prescriptions.



Samvega wrote:

Of course, the more mundane answer is that doctors spend their days writing prescriptions, and so they end up just scribbling because they are too busy to bother with nice, fine print.

Use of the internet has probably not helped anybody's handwriting - I know mine has degraded over the years due to keyboard use. My hands have simply gotten lazy.


Same here.
Thinker13
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Posted 05/24/12 - 11:40 PM:

Libertygrl wrote:
In my study of graphology, I was taught that illegible writing was typically a sign of arrogance, which could very well be true of most doctors. I was also taught that very legible writing is a sign of wanting to communicate clearly. Illegible writing could be a sign of various things - one possibility is that the person is trying to deliberately be misunderstood, which I think is a less frequent explanation. Another less frequent explanation is some form of illness. More commonly, the person simply does not care whether anyone understands it or not - they are not seeking anyone's acceptance or approval.


For most of my college, I used to scribble extensively in an illegible script with tiny font, which was deliberate(except the 'tiny' part, because that was needed to facilitate the pace of writing for hours on.) I was thought be 'arrogant' by most of my colleagues, except those who interacted with me on a regular basis. Sometimes I had this urge to change perception of others about me, but urge to be myself and search for Truth was more powerful. Yes, I used to scribble for myself and I was an outsider in most of the groups.


Libertygrl wrote:

In the case of a doctor, or a pharmacist, you would think that emphasis on communicating clearly should be of utmost importance. However, the way one's subconscious values influence their handwriting is very strong and can very easily override conscious ideals. This is why graphology is such a revealing pursuit. This is also why (IMO) the problem of medication errors is so rampant.


I agree.

Libertygrl wrote:

Sam, you also make the point about expediency, and yes I agree, that is also a factor. I work for a doctor, and yes the task of writing out a prescription is a tedious one and one i'm sure he is most often eager to be done with. Still, if you were to examine a doctor's regular handwriting, while addressing a Christmas card or some personal item on which he would presumably use his best writing, you would still find it typically illegible compared to the usual writing of, say, a teacher.

Now that we've converted to an electronic medical records system, almost all prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy electronically, which will overall greatly reduce the margin for error, although not eradicate it 100%.


As an aside: The factors: 1. Your profession has something to do with hospitals/clinics. 2. You are a dream interpreter. 3. You have widely interacted with people(and perhaps live) outside your country of birth. 4. You take keen interest in meditation, visual-psychic arts like movies, paintings and Tarot.

Suggest me that in your Vedic horoscope the 12th house must be quite strong and may be populated enough. It's just a conjecture, but I think it should be so.

libertygrl
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Posted 05/25/12 - 11:51 AM:

Umm.. an astrologer did my chart once and I think he said that I had pluto in the 12th house. Or something. I could be remembering that wrong.

Edit: No, that's right, now that I think about it. My astrologer friend used to call attention to it a lot when we used to hang out. Any time I expressed feelings about this or that going in my life at the time, he would say, "Of course, well you do have pluto in the 12th house." That's about all I remember from my reading though.

Edited by libertygrl on 05/25/12 - 1:54 PM
Thinker13
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Posted 05/26/12 - 5:00 AM:

libertygrl wrote:
Umm.. an astrologer did my chart once and I think he said that I had pluto in the 12th house. Or something. I could be remembering that wrong.

Edit: No, that's right, now that I think about it. My astrologer friend used to call attention to it a lot when we used to hang out. Any time I expressed feelings about this or that going in my life at the time, he would say, "Of course, well you do have pluto in the 12th house." That's about all I remember from my reading though.



Pluto alone in the 12th house tends to destroy/dissolve your enemies. Significations, as suggested above, cannot be created by just a single planet in the twelfth house, therefore I think that twelfth house must be strong by aspects, conjunctions and occupations.

libertygrl
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Posted 07/26/12 - 3:34 PM:

Nihil Loc
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Posted 07/26/12 - 11:48 PM:

The stereotype is true! I've seen it myself but am not sure any mysterious explanation is needed.

I say it just has to do with speed. The faster they write the more illegible their writing. It just becomes a habit (like illegible signatures).
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