The 'insidious' words ethicists are urging doctors not to use

Healthcare terminology that belittles or blames patients is outdated and needs to change, say researchers

Doctors’ use of common medical phrases like ‘non-compliant’ and ‘failure to progress’ has come under fire for inadvertently disempowering patients. 


UK medical ethics specialists argue some language, while ingrained in clinical practice, can “insidiously” affect the doctor–patient therapeutic relationship by conferring petulance, rendering the patient passive or seemingly blaming them for poor outcomes.  

In an analysis published in The BMJ, the researchers take aim at several widely used words and