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Patients Want to See Their Records

Doctors use humorous chart notes as a way to cope with stress, disease and death

Next time your doctor writes in your chart, you might want to see what's being scrawled. Do you have GLL (great-looking legs)? Are you a candidate for the Departure Lounge (geriatric ward)? Or during the exam were you a TBP (total bloody pain)? Turns out these are codes used by some doctors in Great Britain to describe patients. The longtime practice amounts to using humor as a way to cope with stress, loss, grief, disease and death, says Adam Fox, M.D., of Guy's and St. Thomas' hospitals in London. Now that patients want to see their own records, the tradition is less common, he adds.

Mike Tucker is a writer in Virginia.

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