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Eponyms

If you are a medical provider or a nurse for any length of time, you will come across eponyms. Eponyms are diseases, disorders, procedures or equipment that is named for some person. You will not be asking for a indwelling urinary catheter, you will be asking for a Foley [catheter]. When a patient went to the operating room for a pancreaticoduodenenectomy, modified or not, it was not called that, it was called a Whipple’s surgery. If you were at your doctor’s and s/he said, your tests have come back, it would be unlikely for her to say you have an inflammatory B-cell lymphoma, rather she would say , "You have Hodgkin’s disease".

There is a movement in health care to reduce or even eliminate the use of eponymous titles on the ground that eponyms do not describe but merely name, and they can be confusing at times. However I doubt that they will ever completely die out, so the student should be prepared to understand the more common eponyms in use today.

Common eponyms

1. Achilles' tendon-- the tendon that attaches the gastrocnemious muscle (calf) to the calcaneous (heel), this is probably never going away.
2. Bowman's capsule-- aka glomerular capsule, a cup-like structure in the kidney that is part of the nephron.
3.Cushing's disease -- hypercortisolism
4.Eustachian tube-from Bartolomeo Eustachius a 15th century anatomist-- the tube connecting the middle ear to the nasopharynx-- also called the pharyngotympanic tube.
5. Fallopian tubes --from Gabrielo Falloppio -- aka the salpinges,the tubes connecting the ovaries to the uterus.
6. Lou Gehrig's disease-- aka amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a degenerative disease of the motor neurons

More to come. . .