Freedom of Information requests have recently confirmed that almost half of all maternity units in England were forced to turn away expectant mothers in 2017. Maternity units were closed 287 times usually due to lack of capacity and staffing issues. This...
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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