What’s in a name?
Darling, idiot, pal, sir, scum. What we call people is important. Names, titles, and nicknames come loaded with ideas about relationships and status, duties and expectations.
There has been a bit of a movement to scrap the word “patient.” Proponents usually start by getting entangled in etymology: patient comes from the Latin “pati,” to endure. They argue that describing a patient simply as someone who suffers isn’t quite right for the modern autonomous health service user. But the history of words can be misleading: “doctor” comes from the Latin word for teacher; and “nurse” derives from “nutrix,” meaning a woman who breast feeds someone else’s child, a duty I’m pretty sure isn’t in the standard NHS contract. Few patients or healthcare professionals know the derivation of patient and far fewer care; any objecting linguists who present in clinic can surely be dealt with on a case by case basis.