Doctors, as scientists, have a language all their own. Medical terminology is a language, just like others, with rules and linguistics. In medical terminology, the root word is generally incapable of standing alone in a sentence, but must have either a prefix or suffix, usually from Greek or Latin, in order to provide meaning.
For example, the root word “card” refers to the heart. Many people are familiar with “cardio,” meaning physical exercise that increase heart rate, or cardiac arrest, meaning a heart attack. However, the prefix “myo,” meaning muscle, and “itis,” meaning inflammation can be added, producing the medical term Myocarditis, inflammation of the heart muscle. There is also “cardiologist,” the doctor specializing in the heart.
The healthcare field also employs a fair number of acronyms as a routine part of medical terminology. Many people are familiar with the ICU (Intensive Care Unit), EMS (Emergency Medical Services) and even the ER (Emergency Room). Medical terminology also includes a fair amount of medical slang, which many people are familiar with, thanks to television programs such as ER. Doctors tend to restrict medical slang to email or verbal conversation, as many terms have become pejorative, such as “bagged and tagged” to indicate death, or “donorcycle” to mean motorcycle, an indication of the number of fatal accidents that occur among motorcyclists.