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Vocabulary

Word
part of speech
MeaningExample sentence
abnormal
adj
not normal for the human bodyThis amount of weight loss is abnormal for women your age.
ache
noun/verb
pain that won't go awayI can't sleep because my knees ache in the night.
acute
adj
quick to become severe/badWe knew the baby was coming right away because the woman's labour pains were acute.
allergy noun
allergic adj
a body's abnormal reaction to certain foods or environmental substances (eg causes a rash)Your son is extremely allergic to peanuts.
ambulance
noun
emergency vehicle that rushes people to a hospitalWe called the ambulance when Josh stopped breathing.
amnesia
noun
a condition that causes people to lose their memoryI can't remember the accident because I had amnesia.
amputation noun
amputate verb
permanent removal of a limbWe had to amputate his leg because the infection spread so quickly.
anaemia noun
anaemic adj
occurs when the body doesn't have enough red blood cellsI have low energy because I am anaemic.
antibiotics
noun
medication that kills bacteria and cures infectionsMy throat infection went away after I started the antibiotics.
anti-depressant
noun
medication that helps relieve anxiety and sadnessThe anti-depressants helped me get on with life after Lucy died.
appointment
noun
a scheduled meeting with a medical professionalI've made you an appointment with a specialist in three week's time.
arthritis
noun
a disease that causes the joints to become swollen and crippledMy grandmother can't knit anymore because the arthritis in her hands is so bad.
asthma (attack)
noun
a condition that causes a blockage of the airway and makes it difficult for a person to breatheI carry an inhaler when I run because I have asthma.
bacteria
noun
a disease-causing organismTo prevent the spread of bacteria it is important that nurses wash their hands often.
bedsore
noun
wounds that develop on a patient's body from lying in one place for too longIf you don't get up and take a walk, you will develop painful bedsores.
benign
adj
not harmful (not cancerous)We're hoping that the tests will show that the lump in your breast is benign.
biopsy
noun
removal of human tissue in order to conduct certain medical testsThe biopsy ruled out a number of illnesses.
blood count
noun
the amount of red and white blood cells a person hasYou will be happy to know that your blood count is almost back to normal.
blood donor
noun
a person who gives blood to a blood bank or other personBlood donors have to answer questions about their medical history.
blood pressure
noun
the rate at which blood flows through the body (high/low)High blood pressure puts you at risk of having a heart attack.
brace
noun
a device that holds injured body parts in placeYou will probably always have to wear a brace on your ankle when you jog.
breech
adj
position of an unborn baby in which the feet are down and the head is upWe thought it was going to be a breech birth, but the baby turned himself around.
broken
adj
a bone that is divided in two or more pieces as a result of an injuryWe thought it was just a sprain, but it turned out his leg was broken.
bruise noun
bruised adj
injured body tissue that is visible underneath the skinThe woman was badly bruised when she came into the emergency room.
Caesarean section, C-section
noun
procedure that involves removing a baby from its mother through an incision in the woman's lower abdomenThe baby was so large that we had to perform a Caesarean section.
cancer
noun
disease caused by the uncontrollable growth of cellsThere are many different options when it comes to treating cancer.
cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
noun
restoring a person's breath and circulationYou saved your brother's life by performing CPR.
cast
noun
a hard bandage that is wrapped around a broken bone to keep it in placeMy leg was in a cast for graduation.
chapel, chapeline
noun
a place where loved ones can go to pray for a patient's recovery;
a priest who visits patients in the hospital
If you want a place to pray, the chapel is on the third floor.
chemotherapy
noun
type of treatment used on cancer patientsMy mother has already had three rounds of chemotherapy.
chickenpox
noun
a virus commonly contracted by children, characterized by itchy spots all over the bodyIt is best to get chickenpox as a child so that you don't get it worse as an adult.
coroner
noun
a person who determines the cause of death after a person diesWe only call the coroner if we think a death is suspicious.
critical condition
noun
requiring immediate and constant medical attentionYou can't see her right now; she's in critical condition.
crutches
noun
objects that people with injured legs or feet use to help them walkI'd rather hop on one foot than use crutches.
cyst
noun
a sac in the body-tissue filled with fluid (sometimes diseased)We're going to remove the cysts just to be on the safe side.
deaf
adj
unable to hearThe accident left the patient both deaf and blind.
deficiency
noun
a lack of something necessary for one's healthThe tests show that you have an iron deficiency.
dehydrated
adj
in need of waterIt is easy for the elderly to become dehydrated in this heat.
dementia
noun
loss of mental capacityIt is hard to watch a loved one suffering with dementia.
diabetes
noun
type of disease typically involving insulin deficiencyPeople with diabetes have to constantly check their blood sugar levels.
diagnosis
noun
medical explanation of an illness or conditionThe doctor would prefer to share the diagnosis with the patient himself.
discomfort
noun
experiencing painThis pain medication should relieve some of your discomfort.
disease
noun
a medical disorder that is harmful to a person's healthI understand that this disease runs in your family.
dislocated
adj
when a bone is temporarily separated from its jointYou will have to wear a sling because of your dislocated shoulder.
emergency
noun
a medical problem that needs immediate attentionIt is important that children know which number to dial in case of an emergency.
ER (emergency room)
noun
the hospital room used for treating patients with immediate and life-threatening injuriesThe child was rushed into the ER after he had a severe allergic reaction to a bee sting.
external
adj
on the outsideThis cream is for external use only. Do not get it near your ears, eyes, or mouth.
false negative
noun
adj
a test that incorrectly comes back negativeWe had two false negative pregnancy tests, so we didn't know we were having a baby.
family history
noun
medical background of a person's family membersThe doctor was concerned about my family history of skin cancer.
fatal
adj
causing deathThe doctor made a fatal error when he wrote the wrong prescription.
fever noun
feverish adj
higher than normal body temperatureHe is very feverish, and his temperature is near danger point.
flu (influenza)
noun
many types of respiratory or intestinal infections passed on through a virusPeople who have the flu should not visit hospital patients.
fracture noun
fractured adj
broken or cracked boneYour wrist is fractured and needs a cast.
germ
noun
a micro-organism, especially one that causes diseaseFlowers are not allowed in the ward to avoid the risk of germs being brought in.
genetic
adj
a medical condition or physical feature that is passed on in the familyThe disease is part genetic and part environmental.
growth
noun
a ball of tissue that grows bigger than normal, either on or under the skinThat growth on your shoulder is starting to worry me.
heart attack
noun
instance in which blood stops pumping through the heartPeople who smoke are at greater risk of having a heart attack.
HIV
noun
the virus that infects the human T-cells and leads to AIDSHIV can be passed down from the mother to her fetus.
hives
noun
bumps that appear on the surface of the skin during an allergic reactionI broke out in hives after I ate that potato casserole.
illness noun
ill adj
general term for any condition that makes a person feel sick for a certain period of timeHer illness went away when she started eating better.
immune system
noun
the parts of the body that fight diseases, infections, and virusesYou can't have visitors because your immune system is low.
immunization noun
immunize verb
an injection that protects against a specific diseaseBabies are immunized three times in their first year.
incision
noun
cut in the body made during surgeryI had to have stitches to close the incision.
inconclusive
adj
unclearWe have to do more x-rays because the first ones were inconclusive.
infant
noun
young babyThe nurse will demonstrate how to bathe an infant.
infection noun
infected adj
diseased area of the body (viral or bacterial)The wound should be covered when you swim to prevent it from becoming infected.
inflamed
adj
appearance (red and swollen) of an injured body partMy right ankle was so inflamed it was twice the size of my left one.
injury
noun
damage to the bodyHer injuries were minor; just a few cuts and bruises.
intensive care unit (ICU)
noun
section of the hospital where patients get constant attention and doctors rely on specialized equipmentShe will remain in the ICU until she can breathe on her own.
internal
adj
under the skin, inside the organsThe doctors will be monitoring her for any internal bleeding.
itchy
adj
feeling discomfort on the skin's surfaceIf you are allergic to this medication your skin will get red and itchy.
IV
noun
a tube that pumps liquids and medication into a patient's bodyThe toddler was so dehydrated that the doctor decided to get him on an IV.
lab results
noun
tests that come back from a laboratory and help doctors make a diagnosisThe lab results have come in and you are free to go home.
lab (laboratory)
noun
place where samples of blood/urine etc. are taken for testingI'll take these samples down to the lab on my way out.
life support
noun
a machine that keeps patients alive by helping them breatheThe woman has severe brain damage and is currently on life support.
life-threatening
adj
when injuries and conditions are extremely seriousThe victim was shot in two places but the bullet wounds are not life-threatening.
light-headed
adj
feeling of dizziness and being off-balance, caused by lack of oxygen in the brainIf you are feeling light-headed again, lie down and call me.
malignant
adj
expected to grow and get much worse (especially related to cancerous cells)I'm afraid at least one of the tumours is malignant.
medical school (med. school)
noun
place where someone trains to be a doctorAfter eight years of medical school I can finally practice medicine.
newborn
noun
an infant that is less than three months oldYou have to support her neck because she is still a newborn.
numb
adj
no feeling in a certain body partThe needle will make your lower body feel numb.
OR (operating room)
noun
the place where major surgeries and operations take placeYou must wear a face mask and gloves while you are in the OR.
operation noun
operate on verb
a medical procedure that involves going inside a person's body in an attempt to fix a problemThe operation lasted seven hours, but it was successful.
pain
noun
strong discomfort in certain areas of the bodyWe gave your husband some medicine to relieve some of the pain.
pain killer, pain reliever
noun
type of medicine that takes away some or all of the discomfort of an illness or injuryYou can take two pain killers every four hours.
paralyzed
adj
unable to move certain areas of the bodyWe thought her legs were paralyzed for life, but she is learning how to walk.
patient
noun
a person staying in a hospital or medical facilityThe patients in Room 4 are not getting along.
pharmacist
noun
a person who fills a doctor's prescription and gives people advice about medicationAsk the pharmacist if there is a generic brand of this medication.
pharmacy, drugstore
noun
a place where people go to buy medication and other medical suppliesYou should be able to buy a bandage at the pharmacy.
physician
noun
doctorAsk your family physician to refer you to a specialist.
poison noun
poisonous adj
a substance that is very dangerous if it enters the human bodyThe child was bitten by a poisonous snake.
prenatal
adj
of the time period leading up to giving birthThe woman was well prepared for labour because she took the prenatal classes.
prescription noun
prescribe verb
the correct amount and type of medication needed to cure an illness or relieve symptomsYou will need to visit your doctor to get another prescription.
privacy noun
private adj
being alone; personal (eg test results)You will have to pay for a private hospital room if you don't want a room-mate.
radiation
noun
high energy X-rays that destroy cancer cellsIf the radiation doesn't kill all of the abnormal cells, the cancer will come back.
residency
resident

noun
part of a doctor's training that takes place in the hospital;
a student working under a doctor
John is a resident under Dr Brown.
routine check-up
noun
a doctor's appointment to check a person's general healthI'd like to see you a year from now for a routine check-up.
scrubs
noun
plain uniform (usually green, white, or blue) worn by medical professionalsI have some extra scrubs in my locker.
scrub up
verb
carefully wash hands before and after seeing a patientI have to scrub up and get ready for surgery.
second opinion
noun
input from a second doctor about an illness or symptomI went to another doctor to get a second opinion about these headaches.
seizure
noun
sudden violent movements or unconsciousness caused by electrical signal malfunction in the brainPeople who suffer from epilepsy are prone to seizures.
shock
noun
body not getting enough blood flowThe woman was in shock after being pulled from the river.
side effects
noun
other symptoms that might occur as a result of a certain medication or procedureOne of the side effects of antidepressants is a loss of appetite.
sore
adj
painfulI have a sore throat and a runny nose.
spasm
noun
the uncontrollable tightening of a muscleEver since I injured my leg I've been having muscle spasms in my upper thigh.
specialist
noun
a doctor that is an expert in a certain kind of medicineMy family doctor is sending me to a specialist.
sprain
noun/verb
an injury (less serious than a break) to a joint (ankle, wrist, knee etc)I sprained my knee playing soccer.
stable condition
noun
a patient is stable if their medical condition is no longer changing rapidlyYou can see your husband now; he is in a stable condition.
sting
noun/verb
sharp, temporary painIt may sting when I insert the needle.
stress noun
stressed adj
worry that causes muscles to tighten and blood pressure to riseYou need to take some time off work and relieve some of your stress.
swelling noun
swollen adj
ligaments (parts that hold the joints together) growing bigger and rounder after an injury to a jointI knew my ankle was sprained because it was so swollen.
symptoms
noun
pain or physical changes that occur because of an illness or diseaseYou have all of the symptoms of a diabetic.
temperature
noun
amount of heat measured in a body; higher than normal temperatureWe brought Jesse to emergency because he was running a (high) temperature.
tender
adj
painful when touched or usedThe incision was tender after the surgery.
test results
noun
medical information that helps doctors understand a patient's condition or bodyThe test results came back negative. You aren't pregnant.
therapy
noun
treatment aimed at improving a person's mental or physical conditionI was able to go back to work a few weeks after starting the therapy.
transplant
noun
moving of an organ from one human to anotherThe heart transplant saved your life.
ultrasound
noun
a test that examines the body's internal organs and processes using sound waves (often used during pregnancies)The ultrasound shows that we are expecting a baby boy.
umbilical cord
noun
the lifeline from the mother to the fetus (when cut at birth this forms the belly button)I had an emergency C-section because the umbilical cord was wrapped around the baby's neck.
unconscious
adj
alive, but appearing to be asleep and unaware of the surroundingsI hit my head on the steering wheel and was still unconscious when the ambulance arrived.
urine sample
noun
a small amount of the body's liquid waste that is tested for different medical reasonsThe urine sample tells us how much alcohol is in your blood.
vein
noun
the thin tubes that transport blood around the body and back to the heartI'm just looking for the best vein in which to insert the needle.
virus
noun
a dangerous organism that causes the spread of minor and major diseasesThe virus is contractable through the exchange of bodily fluids.
visiting hours
noun
time of day when friends and family are allowed to visit patients in hospitalI'm afraid you'll have to come back during visiting hours.
vomit
noun/verb
discharge of a person stomach contents through the mouthThe pregnant woman can't stop vomiting.
ward
noun
a section of a hospital or health facility where patients stayI should warn you that we're entering the mental health ward.
wheelchair
noun
a chair on wheels used for transporting patients from place to placeIf you get in the wheelchair I'll take you down to see the garden.
wound noun
wounded adj
injury to body ("flesh wound" means not deep)The wounded soldiers are being airlifted to the hospital.
x-ray
noun/verb
a photograph of a person's bones and organsThe technician took x-rays of my shoulder to make sure it wasn't broken.

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