05 April 2016

Tuesday’s Tip: Add a medical dictionary to your reference shelf

We all have various books on our reference shelf. They probably include books like “Genealogy Standards” and books on immigration or researching a specific ethnic background. My tip of the day – include a medical dictionary on your shelf.

I have a couple medical dictionaries. One is “Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary.” It was printed in Philadelphia by the F.A. Davis Company in 1958. The original copyright was 1940. Why is that important? Some medical terms have evolved over the years. Others are no longer used.

A great aunt of mine died when she was just 15. She suffered epilepsy all her short life. Her death certificate lists the cause of death as “status epilepticus.’ Taber notes “status epilepticus” is the “rapid succession of epileptic attacks without regaining consciousness during the intervals.”

The other is more recent. It is “The Bantam Medical Dictionary” and is copyrighted 1981. It provides a little more information on “status epilepticus.” It defines it as: “the occurrence of repeated epileptic fits without any recovery of consciousness between them. Its control is a medical emergency, since prolonged status epilepticus causes serious imbalance of the salts (electrolytes) in the body which may lead to the patient’s death. During each fit, the breathing is arrested and the body is deprived of oxygen, resulting in further damage to the brain cells.”

While both are similar and do essentially say the same thing, the second does offer more detail.

What is on YOUR reference shelf?

Tuesday’s Tip is a genealogical prompt of GeneaBloggers.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2016

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