A review commissioned by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has provided recommendations for when patients die following NHS treatment. Professor Williams’ review recommends that patient deaths which aren’t referred to a coroner...
This medical term glossary provides explanations in plain English of a number of technical terms you may encounter in the process of pursuing a clinical negligence claim.
Abduction - Moving of limbs away from the middle of the body.
Ablation - Removal of tissue or strange growth.
Abscess - A swollen collection of pus.
Acetabulum - Socket on the underside of the pelvic bone where the head of the femur (hip bone) is situated. The femur is attached by ligaments.
Achilles tendon - Calf muscle tendon, linked to the heel bone.
Acrocyanosis - Irregularly slow blood circulation which causes blue tinged discolouration of the hands and feet.
Acromio-clavicular joint - A joint that links the shoulder blade and the collar bone.
Acroparaesthesia - Unusual tingling in hands and feet.
Acute - Describing symptoms of great severity, brief in duration.
Adduction - The movement of a limb towards the middle of the body.
Adenitis - Condition of inflamed glands.
Adenopathy - Condition of diseased glands.
Adventitia - The outer surface of a blood vessel, such as veins.
Agnosia - The patient has trouble recognising familiar sights, sounds, smells etc, in spite of normal sensation
Agoraphobia - Fear of wide open areas.
Agraphia - Unable to express thoughts in writing.
Air conduction - The movement of sound waves through the ear.
Akinesia - Inability to control muscles.
Alexia - Reading difficulties.
Allergy - Immune system hypersensitivity to certain biological substances such as drugs or plants.
Alveolar fracture - A fracture of the aspect of the jaw bone which holds the teeth.
Alveolus - The aspect of the jawbone that holds the teeth.
Amnesia - Failure of memory following trauma.
Amputation - Cutting away part of a limb, finger or toe.
Analgesia - Painkillers.
Anastamosis - Connection of two parts of a hollow organ such as a vein.
Angina - Chest pain caused by insufficient blood supply to the heart.
Ankylosis - Fusing of joints due to disease.
Anodyne - Painkilling treatment.
Anosmia - Lack of ability to smell.
Anoxia - Oxygen supply to the brain falls below required minimum. May cause brain damage.
Anterior - Located on the front of the body.
Anterograde amnesia - Events after a traumatic incident are not remembered.
Anti-convulsant - Drug which suppresses seizures.
Anti-depressant - Drug used to combat the symptoms of depression.
Anti-inflammatory - Drug used to combat inflammation which is not caused by infection. The most common type are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).
Antipyretic - Drug used to reduce fever.
Antrectomy - Cutting away part of the stomach.
Anuria - Able to pass only a minimal amount of urine; a symptom of kidney failure.
Aphasia - Unable to speak.
Apraxia - Loss of the ability to perform skilled voluntary movements in the absence of muscle paralysis.
Arachnoid mater - Lining of the brain and spinal cord. The space within contains the spinal fluid.
Arthritis - Inflamed joints.
Arthrodesis - Surgical fusing of a joint.
Arthro - Of or relating to a joint.
Arthropathy - Disease related to a joint.
Arthroplasty - Surgical reconstruction of a joint.
Arthroscopy - Visual inspection of a joint through surgery.
Arthrotomy - Surgical operation to open a joint.
Asbestosis - Lung disease caused by inhalation of asbestos fibres.
Aseptic necrosis - Death of bone material not caused by infection.
Asphyxia - Inability or difficulty in taking air into the lungs.
Aspiration - Use of suction to remove fluid from a body cavity.
Asthenia - Weakness.
Ataxia - Loss of ability to control movement of limbs or head.
Atheroma - Build up of fatty deposits on artery walls, may lead to thrombosis.
Atherosclerosis - Disease causing hardening of artery walls.
Athetoid - Constant slow movement of the body caused by brain damage.
Atrophy - Tissue degeneration.
Audiogram - Graph showing hearing capacity.
Audiometry - Assessment of hearing function by means of an audiogram.
Avascular necrosis - Loss of bloody supply to parts of the body causing tissue degeneration.
Avulsion - Tearing between body parts.
Avulsion fracture - Damage to a bone due to stress on the attached ligament or tendon.
Axilla - The armpit.
Axon - A nerve fibre.
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