To celebrate my return home after a third period of hospital stay this year, I thought that in this and the next blog posting we might discuss certain medical terms.
The first question is: what English word spelled with final -sc has the c silent?
I’d never come across it in writing before, though it’s a word familiar in its spoken form ˈriːsʌs to anyone who watches medical soaps on television. It’s short for resuscitation, the emergency medical process intended to manually preserve intact brain function in a person in cardiac arrest or major trauma until further measures can be taken to restore spontaneous blood circulation and breathing; or the place or unit devoted to this process.
But how do we write it? At least some people spell it resusc, derived from the full form resuscitation by simple truncation. I first came across this spelling while browsing through the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Specialities (as one does), though I cannot now find the exact locus again. Here’s another example, from YouTube.
The OED, on the other hand, knows only the spellings resus and resuss (and bizarrely considers the word ‘chiefly British’).
_ _ _
In other news (“Gategate”)… As journalists have pointed out, conservative whip Andrew Mitchell’s alleged use of the term ‘f***** pleb’ last week to insult the policeman who barred his way outside 10 Downing Street not only betrays his Flashman-like upper-class or public-school (Rugby) background but also attests to his age (if he were younger he’d’ve said ‘chav’ instead) and reveals his rather poor command of Latin (his colleague Boris Johnson, after all, who is a good classicist, would know that plebs is a singular mass noun, and pleb an ignorant back-formation from a word mistakenly taken as including the plural ending, like cherry from cherise or pea from pease).
You can draw what conclusions you see fit from the fact that I included an entry for ‘pleb’ as a headword in LPD, with ‘plebs’ in the same entry but also included as a separate headword.
_ _ _
I’m under instructions to take things easily for the next four weeks. So I’m going to reduce the frequency of blog postings to just three a week: on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.