I am a medico and I am frequently tasked with reviewing prospective journal article drafts generated by colleagues. I have always been a bit irked by the standard terminology used in journal articles/reports to state that a given patient (in a case study for example) decided not to opt for a certain course of treatment. The current convention is to state that that patient ‘refused’ that course of treatment. I think that conventional wording is outdated, and misrepresents the contemporary situation.
At least in countries with reasonable healthcare systems, patients of sound mind and under no duress do not ‘refuse’ anything. Instead, their treatment options are presented to them and they make their own choices as to what to decline, and what to opt for. In a sense, this is quite the opposite of ‘refusing’ anything.
Getting back to my initial point, I am not intending to open up a hornet’s nest of feverish debate about ‘right to choose’ or the state of healthcare in Australia. I am actually just asking what your opinion is about the standard terminology currently used in medical publications to state that a patient decided not to opt for a certain treatment option. Currently, what is usually published is that the patient ‘refused’ the treatment. I think ‘declined’ (or some similar word/wording) would be much more appropriate.
The last thing I will add is that ‘quibbling’ over what terminology is the most ‘PC’ is not something I would usually do. For example, I personally have no time for this whacky (yet unfortunately rapidly pervading) ‘movement’ that holds that it is not appropriate to use the words ‘cancer patient’, or ‘influenza patient’, etc … I am absolutely genuinely interested in anyone’s opinion on the ongoing use of ‘… the patient refused …’ in the medical literature though. To me it seems extremely outdated/misrepresentative.