Advanced search

'Defied the Doctors'

(24 Posts)
MyKingdomForBrie Fri 18-Mar-16 11:15:31

AIBU to absolutely hate this term? It appears in the news all the time, 'miracle baby defied the doctors to survive' etc. As if 'the doctors' are some kind of evil band of mercenaries willing people to die, and that survival is despite their best efforts.

Ok so it's a really minor point but it just annoys me so much!

tiggytape Fri 18-Mar-16 11:22:00

YANBU - a lot of terminology about serious illness makes it sound like the outcome is down to choice or willpower when mainly it is down to pure luck and / or the skill of the professionals.

Nobody chooses to successfully defy a terrible prognosis - they just get lucky and are able to survive it. It's the same with those who talk about: fighting cancer, "winning" against cancer, beating the odds etc

There's nothing wrong with being positive except sometimes it makes those who don't "win" against cancer or "defy" the doctors or "beat" the odds almost sound as if they just didn't try hard enough or like it was a choice they didn't make.

WorraLiberty Fri 18-Mar-16 11:22:02

That's not what springs to my mind when I hear the term.

I understand it to mean that doctors thought in all probability they would die, but they survived instead.

FrozenPonds Fri 18-Mar-16 11:25:37

I've only ever read or heard of it as 'defied doctors predictions', which is fair enough.

Do you mean in headlines, where they are pushed for space, and assume people are able to figure out the meanin

FrozenPonds Fri 18-Mar-16 11:25:58

Meaning grin

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 18-Mar-16 11:27:12

I'm sure that's what actually happened worra but that's not what the word means and that's why it annoys me. It will likely be a lot to do with the Drs that they did survive so why is that a defiance of them?!

Also that's a very good point and probably more relevant tiggy

CantChoose Fri 18-Mar-16 11:36:15

Completely with tiggy' - while some find it helpful, in my experience the 'battle' terminology often causes people to feel unnecessary guilt if their illness progresses. It is also a barrier to people communicating that they don't want to continue with treatments as they feel they are cowardly, 'giving up the fight' when actually sometimes that's the bravest decision possible IMO.
'Defying the odds' makes me giggle a bit - that's the whole point of odds.... Though it's more accurate than saying 'defied the doctors', I agree.
And for everyone who does well, there's another person who unfortunately has seen the opposite - otherwise the odds would change! They don't make the headlines though...

dodobookends Fri 18-Mar-16 11:38:16

It means "defied the doctors' prognosis" as in defying the predicted likely outcome, not the doctors.

IdaJones Fri 18-Mar-16 11:38:26

Yanbu. It does make it sound like the doctors wanted them to die.

expatinscotland Fri 18-Mar-16 11:41:28

YANBU. Nothing miraculous, either, just luck.

CallousAndStrange Fri 18-Mar-16 12:33:54

YANBU. Also 'brave' ALWAYS being applied to anyone with any illness. Having an illness does not automatically make you brave. It just makes you ill.

MyKingdomForBrie Fri 18-Mar-16 12:46:32

But if it means that dodo it should say it, although as others point out that's actually really inaccurate also.

It annoys me because not only does it make illness sound like a battle you can win if you fight hard enough but also one that is dr v patient.

RockUnit Fri 18-Mar-16 12:58:44


dodobookends Sat 19-Mar-16 13:15:34

It is just clumsy journalism and/or bad grammar; and the misuse of language that's all. That is irritating, I agree.

I don't much like the use of words such as 'battle' and 'fight' either, as if the people who die haven't fought hard enough to win, and they would have survived if they'd made more of an effort.

shinynewusername Sat 19-Mar-16 14:17:06

YANBU. You'd think reading the DM that we doctors delight in nothing more than telling people they will never walk again hmm

In fact, one of the hardest parts of the job is being honest and not giving people false hope. We are always delighted when someone defies the odds and proves us wrong, but it would be cruel to patients and families not to be truthful about a prognosis.

OurBlanche Sat 19-Mar-16 14:41:52

I don't mind battle and fight - when referring to the researchers/scientists who actually 'do' something. But when applied to fundraisers it is ludicrous and when applied to sufferers is demoralising and misleading.

And I agree, defying doctors is a ridiculous use of language - Ya boo sucks GP. I defy you to make me even more ill!

Sadly journalism is becoming more and more 'less than' by the year. Pah!

Trills Sat 19-Mar-16 14:53:02

'Defied the Doctors'

Sounds like the doctors TOLD someone to do something, and they did not.
e.g. doctors told them to take a certain treatment, and they did something else instead.
Perhaps in the context of using homeopathy instead of real medicine and (coincidentally) getting better.

Defying doctors by just surviving - it's not as if doctors TELL babies to die.

Unless there's a word missing and it's Defied the doctors' expectations, which would be a perfectly reasonable sentence.

CaptainCrunch Sat 19-Mar-16 17:28:04

It's just tabloid speak. People always "battle" cancer,, ill children are "tragic tots".

LikeDylanInTheMovies Sat 19-Mar-16 17:37:11

I'm fascinated by tabloid language as it seems to want to replicate everyday speech but uses phrases and words that no one would use in real life.

I was planning a mercy dash to the bedside of a tragic tot, but have decided I'd settle for a slap up meal with pals instead. It was either that or a steamy romp.

CaptainCrunch Sat 19-Mar-16 20:50:10

I think I love you dylan smile

IdaJones Sat 19-Mar-16 20:52:26

grin Dylan

parallax80 Sat 19-Mar-16 22:03:27

There's lots of really interest commentary on the "military metaphor" (all the 'fight against cancer' etc stuff) in medicine. This editorial is a good summary, I think:

I personally dislike it, for exactly these reasons - it makes a moral issue (deserving, fighting etc) out of a medical one. However, I've often heard the side effects of chemotherapy described as 'collateral damage', which can be a useful way to help people to understand what happens.

LikeDylanInTheMovies Sun 20-Mar-16 00:48:37

Cheers Captain I often imagine how trivial episodes in my life would appear if described in a tabloid newspaper. I was a bit late for work this week and got told to buck my ideas up by the jobsworth supervisor. In my head it became:

"Wantaway worker Dylan, 35 was heading for crisis talks after office supremos branded his timekeeping 'shoddy'.

Dylan slammed back smearing, gob-smacked gaffers as 'boring uptight arse aches'. and issued a 'come and get me' plea to the dole office, which sources close to Dylan suggest could be the likely destination for the wayward wage-slave should last-ditch showdown talks break down.

CaptainCrunch Sun 20-Mar-16 09:09:35

Genius, get thee down to news corporation pronto, you could single handedly revitalise the print industry.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now