Today's bartleby.com word of the day is iatrogenic.
What's the difference between iatrogenic and nosocomial? Here are the Compact OED definitions (links are to onelook.com), but of course I have no assurance that they accurately reflect whatever distinction there is between the words.
iatrogenic: caused by medical treatment
nosocomial: originating in a hospital
Iatros = Greek = physician.
iatrogenic = resulting from, or caused by, a physician or surgeon. Often used to suggest autosuggestion resulting from a physician's discussion.
nosocomial. G, nosos = disease. G, genesis = production. Pathogenesis. The production of disease.
Note that iatrogenesis involves the physician or his suggestion, in the production of the disease.
Oops. The word was nosocomial. G, nosokomeian = hospital. Relating to a hospital. Denoting a new disorder (unrelated to the patients primary condition) associated with being treated in a hospital.
These words sound like something from a lawsuit!
Is it as simple as the difference between something caused by a physician or by a (stay in a) hospital?
Since we're onto gen(esis) here, some of my faves: parthenogenesis, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and aerogen.
—Ceci n'est pas un seing.
From my experience iatrogenic means that the physicians or treatment modalities caused the condition, such as an increased potassium level by adding too much potassium to the intravenous fluids, thus causing cardiac abnormalities. Nosocomial, from my experience, is often used when referring to infections that patients contract in hospitals (such as methicillin resistent staph aureus or MRSA). These are often infections where the microbes are resistent to antibiotics (and therefore very dangerous) because the very sick patients (thus, hospitalized) are the ones with these serious types of infections. One would not contract MRSA, for example, by shopping in a mall.
I don't know, however, if the Greeks agree with these definitions, though.
[Edited to correct an egregious error!]This message has been edited. Last edited by: Kalleh,
There is usually no confusion between these words in practice. Iatrogenic refers to any disease or complication of treatment inflicted (unwittingly) by a physician or surgeon. It can range from a trivial rash induced by prescribing a drug to which a patient is allergic, to major errors such as operations on the wrong side. The general estimate is that abou 10-15% of all admissions to hospitals are the result of iatrogenic illness.
nosocomial refers, as said here, to illnesses, usually infections contracted whilst a patient is in hospital and can vary from catching a cold from the patient in the next bed to serious infections often acquired by airborne spread. It has the same origins in Greek, nosos = disease, as Nosology (classification of) etc.