1 e-Letters

published between 2016 and 2019

  • Mucopleurastasis: A description of the phenomena of patients reporting the symptom of being ‘caught in the chest’.

    Medicine has a long history of having its own technical and discriptive language.

    This has often developed from observations of medical phenomena being explored and cataloged scientifically, presented in a way that is descriptive and useful for clinicians.

    Ireland is a country defined by it literature. It is famous for its coloquial language and linguistic idiosyncrasities. From Joycian ‘chamber music’ to Wildes’ wit and Irish idioms like ‘being away with the fairies’, it is clear that we more than most have our own way with words.

    This is not disimilar to many parts of the world where dialects have evolved to better represent the cultural nuiances of the given area. In many ways language evolves out of a need to communicate amongst each other.

    In Ireland, specifically the geographically isolated West coast, many patients present to their family doctor reporting that they are ‘caught in the chest’. For some, particularly as you move away from the West and certainly out of Ireland, this may seem an unusual symptom or at least an unusual turn of phrase, but for a GP from the West of Ireland, this presentation occurs at least several times a day and more frequently during the winter months.

    So what exactly is the message that these patients are trying to convey and why indeed is it such a common presentation?

    This description of the sensation they are experiencing generally refers to patients with respiratory tract type infections. M...

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