Duhaime's Law Dictionary Duhaime & Naysmith Medical-Legal Dictionary Medical-Legal and Health Law Dictionary Abortion The expulsion of a fetus from the uterus before it is viable. Active Euthanasia The taking of active measures to cut short the life of a terminally ill patient. Actuary Professionals uniquely skilled in the application of mathematics to risk management, contingent events and opportunity. ADEPT - Advanced Dementia Prognostic Tool A test for patients with mild to advanced dementia designed to estimate skills needed to reside in a nursing home. Adult Guardianship The body of law as related to the investigation into the ability of an adult to manage his or her person or affairs, and the resultant guardianship. Advanced Health Care Directive A document which includes directions about preferences for health care treatment. Akathisia Psychomotor restlessness. Alopecia Hair loss. Alternative Medicine Holistic health care; medical care that is outside of mainstream medical practice and not benefiting from a solid base of research or regulatory control. Alzheimer's A degenerative disease of the brain of unknown origin resulting in destruction of brain tissue and deterioration in brain function. Ambulatory Something which is mobile or not cast in stone; which can be changed. Anti-psychotic Drugs Tranquilizing pharmaceutical products used to minimize or control psychotic episodes or the symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Antisocial Personality Disorder A pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others. Arthritis A medical condition characterized by the inflammation of the joints. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD or ADD A proposed chronic psychological or cognitive condition which inhibits a subject individual from his/her ability to focus. Automatism An act done by a person who is not conscious of what he is doing. Autopsy The post-mortem dissection and examination of an individual to determine the cause of death. Battering Cycle A three-phase cycle of violent behavior within a spousal relationship. Bioterrorism The release of an infectious agent to cause illness or death against a civilian population. Born Alive A child born and independently breathing or with a heart beat. Cadaver A dead human body. Cadaverine A chemical substance formed by the decomposition of organic matter. Cancer An aggregation of outlaw cells with the propensity to migrate and grow in size and in the territory covered and the definite destruction of the body. Capacity The power to acquire and assert legal rights. Cataplexy A condition in which the patient loses muscle control and collapses. Chemotherapy Toxic drugs administered to a patient to attack and destroy cancer cells. Chronic Serious Health Condition A continuing episodic health condition which requires periodic visits for treament. Congenital Existing at birth. Copulation Sexual intercourse. Coroner A public official who holds an inquiry into violent or suspicious deaths. Corpse A dead human body. Cremation The reduction of the body of a deceased human to its essential elements by incineration. Crumbling Skull Rule A legal theory, companion to the thin skull rule, which limits a tort defendant’s exposure to a plaintiff’s injuries to the plaintiff’s condition at the time of the tort. Dead Donor Rule A custom of medical-legal ethics that vital organs should only be transplanted from dead patients. Death Irreversible cessation of circulatory and respiratory functions and of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem. Delict A civil law term which imposes liability on a person who causes injury to another, or for injury caused by a person or thing under his custody. Delirium A sudden onset of acute confusion and hyperactivity. Delusion A firm yet irrational belief and which may affect an individual's capacity to contract. Dementia A chronic impairment of cognitive and intellectual functioning including memory impairment, which interferes with the activities of daily living. De Non Sane Memorie Latin: of insane memory. Dexamethasone an anti-inflammatory steroid. Dipsomania An irresistible impulse to indulge in intoxicants; chronic alcoholism. Disability Insurance An insurance contract in which the insurer agrees to pay money or to other benefits in the event that the person insured becomes disabled. DNA Abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid. A chromosome molecule which carries genetic coding unique to each person with the only exception of identical twins (that is why it is also called 'DNA fingerprinting'). Doctor-Patient Privilege A proposed prohibition In regards to the disclosure within legal proceedings of communications or records produced privately between a medical doctor and her/his patient, on the expectation of privilege. Dotage The gradual and inevitable deterioration of cognitive functioning caused by aging. DSM-IV The American Psychiatric Association mental disorder manual and classification. Eggshell Skull Doctrine A tort-feasor or a wrongdoer takes his victim as he finds him. Electroconvulsive Therapy A psychiatric treatment of certain mental illnesses, the administration of electric current through the brain inducing seizures. En Ventre Sa Mere French: A fetus recognized as a child then alive for the purposes of wills and estates. Eugenic A measure taken to avoid or prevent the birth of a defective child. Euthanasia The putting to death, by painless method, of a terminally-ill or severely debilitated person. Exhumation The removal of human remains from a grave or vault for the purpose of examination. Expert Witness A witness with a defined area of expertise and on that basis and strictly within that area, is allowed to give opinion evidence to the Court (or jury, as the case may be). Extraordinary Life-Sustaining Treatment Extraordinary medical procedures to temporarily replace or supplement failing and essential bodily functions. Factitious Disorder A person who feigns symptoms of some illness as an attention-seeking strategy. Factitious Disorder by Proxy Very rare mental disorder where a person deliberately feigns symptoms of someone in their care. Folstein MMSE Summary exam used to assess dementia. Fool A human being in form but destitute of reason from birth. Forensic Anthropology The scientific study and analysis of human remains. Funeral Formal observances held for a deceased person, usually before burial or cremation. Ghost Surgery Surgery performed by an unauthorized substitute surgeon. Glioma A species of brain tumor. Global Deterioration Scale A psychiatric tool charting stages of dementia. Habit A regular response to a specific situation. Heart Attack Damage to the heart muscle by occlusion of blood supply. Heart Attack Standard A finding or allegation that conditions of employment are so unusual or extraordinary conditions as to have the potential to cause mental disorder or a heart attack. Heroic Measures Artificial or emergency healthcare measures with or without the use of machinery, designed to revive an individual who but for those measures, would in all probability die. Hippocratic Oath An oath of professional conduct sworn by physicians at the commencement of their career. Hired Gun An expert with a bias or who adapts his or her expert evidence to the requirements of the party that calls him/her as a witness. Hospital A health care facility which offers medical treatment including, as may be necessary, board and lodging and necessary incidents such as nursing care or use of technical equipment. Human Remains The body of a deceased person, in whole or in parts, regardless of its stage of decomposition. Idiot A person incapable of managing his person or his affairs from birth. Imbecile An individual with a lack of normal mental ability but not complete or absolute. Incapacitated An individual who lacks the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care. Incompetency An individual who has a significant risk of personal harm based upon an inability to adequately provide for nutrition, health, housing, or physical safety. Infarction A sudden reduction or stoppage of blood flow. Informed Consent The consent of a capable patient to treatment after disclosure of the risks. Insanity Disorder which impairs the human mind and prevents distinguishing between actions that are right or wrong. Kleptomania An impulse control disorder characterized by the inability to resist impulses to steal objects. Life Independent existence as an animate being. Linear Accelerator The primary device used by radiation onologists to deliver and target radiation therapy. Living Will A document that sets out guidelines for dealing with life-sustaining medical procedures in the eventuality of the signatory's sudden debilitation and inability to communicate those preferences. Lunacy law The law as it relates to the assessment and committal of persons incapable of managing themselves or their affairs. Lunatic An individual who, though once of sound mind, can no longer manage his person or his affairs. Mania An abnormally elevated mood state. MCMI - Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory A test to assess specific personality characteristics including emotional factors. Medical Expert A witness tendered to offer opinion evidence within the confines of his or her area of medical expertise. Medical Malpractice Negligence of a health care professional in the diagnosis, care, and treatment of a patient. Mental Disorder A psychiatric disorder; a clinically significant disease, illness or disability of the mind. Mentally Ill A person who is incapable of managing his person or his affairs. Mentally Retarded Subnormal general intellectual functioning which originates during the developmental period and is associated with impairment of learning and social adjustment or maturation. MMPI - Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory An objective personality test designed to detect a number of major patterns of personality and emotional disorder. M'Naghten Rules A defence to criminal law liability developed in England; if, at the time of the offence, the accused had a disease of the mind such that he was unable to know that his act was wrong. Moral Insanity A disease of the mind in which the individual is bereft of ethical judgment or feelings but still fully functioning intellectually. Munchausen's Syndrome An acute but fabricated illness supported by a dramatic history of some plausibility. Murder Gene A DNA genetic variant that, some scientists propose, predisposes an individual to berserk violence. Myocardial Infarction Permanent damage caused to the middle layer, the heart muscle, usually by sudden obstruction of blood flow. Myocardium The cardiac muscle at the middle layer of the heart. Narcolepsy A condition in which a person has an overwhelming need to sleep and will fall asleep virtually at any time of day or any place Natural Fool A human being in form but destitute of reason from birth. Necrophilia A psychosexual disorder, sexual relations with a corpse. Negligence A breach of a duty to take care. Nervous Shock A recognizable psychiatric illness caused by the breach of duty. Neuroleptic Anti-psychotic, tranquilizing pharmaceutical products used in the treatment of some mental illnesses such as, but not limited to, schizophrenia. Non Compos Mentis Latin: Not of sound mind. Osteoarthritis text here Pain Pump A disposable, portable, non-electronic device that systematically infuses an anaesthetic through an implanted catheter. Parasomnia Sudden unexplained arousal from sleep, sometimes combined with sleep-walking or hand gestures or other bizarre activities. Passive Euthanasia Intentionally withholding a life-saving medical procedure so as to not artificially prevent death. Pathologist Medical doctors who practice pathology; determine through laboratory medicine the causes of tissue disease. Pathology Laboratory medicine; that branch of medicine that studies diseases, their causes and effects. Pedophile A medical condition causing a sexual preference for young children. Penile Plethysmograph A law investigation device which purports to measures the reaction of a target's penis to visual stimuli. Permanent Unconscious Condition An incurable and irreversible condition in which the individual is medically assessed as having no reasonable probability of recovery from an irreversible coma or a permanent vegetative state. Persistent Vegetative State No consciousness (comatose) and no possibility of recovery. Personal Injury Injury to the natural body of a person. Personality Disorder A group of disruptive personality traits which become evident by adolescence or early adulthood. Physiatrist A medical doctor, muscle and bone specialist, who diagnoses and treats disorders that may produce temporary or permanent impairment. Poison Substances that are so inherently dangerous that no reasonable person under normal circumstances would ingest them. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder A mental disorder that results from an extreme traumatic stress. Pre-existing Condition A common exclusion of disability insurance contracts for exacerbation of medical conditions known to have existed within a specified time-frame. Proctologist A medical doctor who studies and treats disorders of the rectum and anus. Psychopath An individual with an abnormal personality charterised by irresponsibility, lack of emotional control, impulsiveness resulting in unstable adaptations to environment. Putrescine The odour caused by putrefying organic matter, such as a corpse or even dead fish. Rectal Prolapse A medical condition in which the lower end of the bowel (the rectum) falls or pops out of the anus. Rheumatoid Arthritis A chronic and permanent inflammatory disease of the joints. Right to be Forgotten A right to have personal information deleted from some second party's electronic or paper records or databases. Sadism Sexual arousal in the infliction opf physical or mental cruelty. Schizophrenia A severe, chronic and generally disabling mental disorder that severely disrupts normal thoughts, speech and behavior. Shock A sudden and disturbing impression on the mind. Sociopath An individual unable to respond to and operate within the rules of society Stab Wound A bodily injury caused by a knife or other sharp or pointed instrument. STAXI, State Trait Anger Expression Inventory A psychological test which measures the intensity of anger in an individual and the disposition to experience angry feelings. Still-born Child A child which which did not at any time after being completely expelled from its mother breathe or show any signs of life. Strangle To interrupt breathing by interference with the windpipe. Superficial Wound A scrape, bruise, discoloration, or swelling, of minimal severity. Temozolomide A chemotherapy, pharmaceutical product especially effective in treating brain cancer, often in combination with radiation. Terminal Condition An incurable and irreversible condition caused by injury, disease, or illness that would cause death within a reasonable period of time in accordance with accepted medical standards, and where the application of life-sustaining treatment would serve only to prolong the process of dying. Testamentary Capacity The legal ability to sign a will. Thin Skull Rule An additional exposure in tort liability towards persons who are particularly vulnerable or more fragile than the norm, who may have inherent weaknesses or a pre-existing vulnerability or condition; the tort-feasor takes his victim as he finds them; he compensates for all damages he caused, even if damages are elevated compared to a norm because the plaintiff was thin skulled. Tort The body of the law which allows an injured person to obtain compensation from the person who caused the injury. Toxicologist An expert in the science of toxicology, the study of the adverse effects of chemical, physical or biological agents such as drugs or poisons. Triage To sort or choose, especially as a process used to determine the urgency or need for emergency care based on a preliminary assessment or observation. Urology Specialty in medicine that deals with the male and female urinary tracts and the male genitalia. Uterine Related to the uterus or, in estate law, siblings issue of a common mother. Virus A minute parasitic microorganism. Washerwoman Syndrome Changes in the skin condition that result from being immersed in water. Whiplash Soft tissue (nerves and muscles) damage to the neck or lower brain area, often caused by a rear-end motor vehicle collision. Wrongful Birth A mother's claim in tort that she would not to have given birth to the child with serious genetic defects but for the defendant's negligence in testing or counselling. Wrongful Life A child's tort claim for bringing the child to birth where the person so doing knew or ought to have known that the child would be born into a life of painful and debilitating disease. Wrongful Pregnancy A tort claim alleging that the defendant's negligence has caused an unwanted pregnancy and birth. Zoophilia A significant disturbance of sexual function where the object of the sexual energy is an animal. Always looking up definitions? Save time with our search provider (modern browsers only) If you find an error or omission in Duhaime's Law Dictionary, or if you have suggestion for a legal term, we'd love to hear from you!