Re: John Paul and the Sad Errors of a Lack of English Comprehension

Re : John Paul And The Sad Errors Of A Misunderstanding Of The English Language.

Many times in Nigeria, English language causes a lot of misunderstandings.
More accurately, a sorry lack of appropriate English language comprehension skills leads to unnecessary misunderstandings and needless conflicts.
Why? Communication and comprehension gaps.
Uncontrolled laughter was my first reaction on reading an article by one John Paul, claiming that he was elated by the judgement from the NICN (National Industrial Court of Nigeria) on the JUTH/Medical Laboratory Scientists case.

When I calmed down, I realised that this was one serious problem … Akorita Isaiah has been highlighting this English Comprehension challenge online for a while now. He makes really hilarious posts using the #DearNigerians hash tag where he draws attention to annoying goofs by Nigerians on social media – caused by a worrying inability to either read and digest a post properly or read to understand.
Back to John Paul, he made a big gaffe by saying that ” the existing laboratories in our tertiary hospitals, headed by pathologists , are CLINICAL laboratories, hence, they must not be headed by *Medical* Laboratory Scientists.”
John Paul apparently failed to attend some English Language classes while he was in Secondary school . Only such a fundamental failure of English Grammar and Comprehension could make a University Graduate come to the public sphere with such an argument.

To help him and others like him, a simple Dictionary check of the word clinical will suffice… 
Online Dictionaries available too e.g.
” Word Origin and History for clinical
1780, “pertaining to hospital patients or hospital care,” from clinic + -al (2). Meaning”coldly dispassionate” (like a medical report) is recorded from 1928. Related:Clinically.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper …
clinical in Medicine 
clinical clin·i·cal (klĭn’ĭ-kəl) 

Relating to the bedside treatment of a patient or to the course of the disease.
Relating to the observed symptoms and course of a disease.
The American Heritage® Stedman’s Medical Dictionary.”
It is easy to assume that the word “clinical” is a synonym of “medical”… Make that assumption and you would be wrong. 

Wikipedia definitions make that mistake, probably due to an influence from American English which also refers to Medical Laboratory Science as Clinical laboratory Science! Oh America! Confusing English Language neophytes like John since 17th century…
‘Clinical’ by definition is merely a subset of ‘Medical’ . 21st century Medicine long ago advanced beyond a one room clinic!
Same way Pharmacy emerged as a distinct discipline , different from the days of a doctor run dispensary and Nursing is no longer a responsibility of the one man doctor show… Medical Laboratory Science is a distinct profession and hence requires all professional responsibilities and rights.
I have often kept away from this conflict between Pathologists and Medical Laboratory Scientists in Nigeria. One reason I only occasionally contribute to the debate is the sad lack of mutual respect that is mostly exhibited by the likes of John Paul. For a health professional to use the analogy of a gate man dragging bedroom duties with his master in reference to a fellow health professional tells you the genesis of the whole problem.

The likes of John Paul are the bad eggs that need to be flushed out of the Nigerian Healthcare space. When in 2014, I advocated for dialogue in a LinkedIn Article... Little did I know of the real mess that had been happening in Medical Laboratories across the country.

In that article, I talked about the 21st century paradigm that puts the patient at the centre of healthcare and allows for all team members to contribute their own professional expertise to the diagnosis, care, management and monitoring of the patient. This is the only way that ensures that a patient gets the most appropriate care today.

This is why all the necessary departments headed by the professionals who contribute to patient care must be available at every level of patient care. Yes, I said every level! 

Unfortunately, we still have some doctors stuck in the 200BC era where Medicine was a one man show – typified by a man carrying a black bag and going round to see patients and being accorded “god” status because he alone had all the answers to health challenges.
To such people, I hope this is a wake up call. 
The sad complexities of disease in the 21st century and the growth of the tree of Medicine changes all that. Wake up! 21st century is here and almost over.
Enough is enough! Enough of caveman medical practice in Nigeria. 
Also, such arrogant species like John need to realise that in a sane setting the gate man , even the cleaner are all very essential to the normal functioning of the system. 
However, Medical Laboratory Scientists are not gate men. Medical Laboratory Scientists (MLS) are professionals trained to provide answers to questions of diagnosis by working on human body fluid samples such as Blood, Urine, Saliva, and other exudates… By scientific methods of analysis, the MLS works to ensure that medical treatment is based only on the actual cause of disease.
 In a sane and patient safety conscious environment, about 70% of clinical diagnosis is based only on the results from the Medical Laboratory. MLS work to ensure that trial and error medical practice is minimised.

At a later time, I hope to have some more time to talk about some of the other issues surrounding this impasse and the implications for the sorry mess that healthcare currently is in Nigeria. One of such issues is the aspect of healthcare Administration starting from the Minister for Health which Nigeria appears to have automatically assumed must be a Medical Doctor. I daresay, Dora Akunyili (may God rest her soul) would have made a fantastic Minister for Health. Yes, she was a healthcare professional, but not a medical doctor. We have many more of Dora’s pedigree and abilities in our healthcare sector… Unfortunately… Nigeria…

Till then though, let every John Paul ( I really wonder if that is a real person or a pseudonym) hear this: 
The NICN judgement gave a 30 day ultimatum to pathologists to vacate the medical laboratories, go back to the clinic and leave Medical Laboratory Scientists to self administer themselves as an autonomous arm of the health care team.
Today March 1 is Day 13.
17 days left to obey the court judgement or go to jail…
To be forewarned is to be forearmed. 
Onaoluwa Abimbola. 
(#UHC4AllNigerians Advocate).


4 Comments Add yours

  1. chief maclaw nwaogu says:

    Very aptly analysed, a word is enough for the wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. chief maclaw nwaogu says:

    Very aptly analysed, a word is enough for the wise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. spiff dami says:

    this doctors sha, simple English dey can’t understand, except for dem to be shouting apex ryt from medical school

    Liked by 1 person

    1. sparrowvoice says:

      Thanks Spiff Dami.

      I can attest to the fact that there are doctors who do not behave like John Paul. Doctors who are very intelligent and recognise the superiority of team work over ego driven practises.


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