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Sometimes, I Need a Decoder Ring

I’m considering having nasal surgery because I can’t breathe well through my left nostril. Yesterday, my doctor gave me a copy of an article that he said would help get a feel for the surgery and outcomes. The article might as well be in Latin. I get a lot of it, but it is filled with sentences these:

Terbinate Hypertrophy can be treated surgically with a wide variety of methods, commonly with partial resection of the bulbous anteroinferior portion of the terbinate. Terbinate procedures may be performed alone for terbinate hypertrophy or with septoplasty for patients with a combination of obstructing septal deformity and terbinate hypertrophy.

I’m sure he must give the article to most patients considering the surgery and I think he is guilty of not understanding his audience. I’d like to know if he thinks the article is useful to a majority of patients.

Whenever I see examples like these (and there are many) I’m reminded that simply communicating is not enough- to communicate effectively, the message has to be in the language of the audience. I’m always surprised at how often the mismatch occurs.