Recently I related to a retired doctor an incident that happened to my dad, and he suggested I write to the BC Medical Journal about the situation. My dad was a senior with a brilliant mind and full hearing, but he was blind. He had retinitis pigmentosa. He was night blind at age 14 and totally blind by age 58.
When he went into the hospital for heart surgery he had some experiences that could have been avoided with more thoughtfulness on the part of the staff.
Food would be brought to his bed table and later would be picked up untouched. “Sir, were you not hungry?”
Dad would reply, “Oh, is there some food for me? I smelled it, but didn’t know if it was for another patient...” Please, talk to your patients. Let them know what is about to happen.
At another time, the specialist came to ask if he had been up to walk around yet. Now, how could he walk around in a strange hospital setting if no one took the time to take him and explain to him where things were in the room and how to get to a hallway? He needed someone to take the few extra minutes to walk with him.
The opposite situation can happen with a deaf patient. If they are not blind, take the time to look directly at them when you are talking. They can often lip-read.
My dad was a very dignified person who would daily wear a dress shirt and tie even after retirement. Blindness was difficult for him. Hospital stays were added trauma. Amazingly, he had a very positive outlook on life and was an inspiration to many.
I know that everyone can be very busy with their workload. But a few extra minutes of your time can save added stress and more difficult stays for the patients in your care.
—Judi Vriend Matthews
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
BCMJ standard citation style is a slight modification of the ICMJE/NLM style, as follows:
- Only the first three authors are listed, followed by "et al."
- There is no period after the journal name.
- Page numbers are not abbreviated.
For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org