In any type of personal injury case, but especially medical malpractice cases, personal injury lawyers need to review and understand your medical records. This is why experience matters – an injury lawyer who doesn’t understand what he or she is reading, is at a distinct disadvantage.
Here at Neufeld, Kleinberg & Pinkiert, PA, we believe you should not be left in the dark. Use this is brief primer to familiarize yourself with common directional terms used by the medical profession. When describing parts of your body, doctors may not use terms like: up, down, left and right alone, because those can become ambiguous depending on one’s vantage point.
Below are some of the terms commonly found in medical charts:
Anterior = forward (i.e. the direction your nose points)
Posterior = backwards (opposite of anterior)
Antero-Postero Axis (or A-P Axis) = If we were to draw an imaginary line connecting these points.
Left (lateral) = obvious
Right (lateral) = obvious
Left-Right Axis (or L-R Axis)= if we were to draw an imaginary line from the left to the right side of your body.
Proximal = where an appendage joins the body
Distal = outer tip of an appendage
Proximodistal Axis = From the tip of an appendage (distal) to where it joins the body (proximal).
Median = refers to the middle of the body.
Superior = above what is being referenced.
Inferior = below what is being referenced.
Ipsilateral = refers to the same side as another body part (e.g. the left arm is ipsilatral to the left leg)
Contralateral – on the opposite side of another body party (e.g. the left arm is contralateral to the right arm or right leg)
Superficial = near the outer surface; opposite is deep