Wei Zhang, Md, Phd, On Reducing Stigmatizing Language In Liver Transplant Centers

A recent study from Massachusetts General Hospital has highlighted the use of stigmatizing language for alcohol use disorder (AUD) and alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) on liver transplant center websites. The study found that these websites often use outdated terms like “alcoholism” and “alcoholic,” which can hinder patient care and discourage individuals from seeking treatment. Out of the 114 accredited liver transplant center websites reviewed, 87.8% of them were found to use stigmatizing language, while only 46.2% of addiction psychiatry websites did the same.

The study suggested that gastroenterologists and hepatologists may not be as familiar with substance use disorder patients, leading to a lack of understanding and comfort in dealing with this population. As a result, stigmatizing terms inadvertently persist on these websites. The findings emphasize the need for increased awareness of the negative impact of stigmatizing language and its consequences for patient care. The researcher also called for educational initiatives and patient involvement to rectify the discourse surrounding AUD and ALD and to improve the overall relationship between doctors and patients in this vulnerable population.

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