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What Did My Doctor Write?

Study: MD handwriting is often illegible

(HealthDayNews) -- Confirming the long-held suspicion of patients everywhere, researchers at medical centers in Swansea, Wales, proved that doctors have terrible handwriting.

Ninety-two physicians, nurses and administrators filled out forms with their names, all the letters of the alphabet and numerals 1 to 9. Researchers then fed the forms through a computer that was programmed to recognize handwriting.

To no one's surprise, the computer counted far more alphabetical errors for the doctors than for nurses or administrators, reports the British Medical Journal. One theory has it that doctors' handwriting deteriorates during medical school because they have to take notes so fast.

The issue is more than academic, since a misread prescription could lead to a deadly drug error. So it is noteworthy -- and a bit reassuring -- that the doctors' handwriting on numerals was more legible.

At least you'll get the right dosage of whatever the scribble on your prescription provides.

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