nosocomial vs. iatrogenic

Gary Donaldson garyd at
Thu Oct 31 02:05:10 EST 1996


I can't honesty say I've ever looked either of these words up in the
dictionary, but here is how I've always used them...

First, a nosocomial infection is any infection acquired by a patient during
a stay in the hospital.  An iatrogenic infection is a more specific type of
nosocomial infection which is the direct result of a screw-up on the part
of a doctor or nurse.  

Gary Donaldson
Dept. of Plant Science, University of British Columbia
Division of Molecular Genetics, B.C. Research Inc.
Vancouver, B.C., Canada
E-mail:  garyd at OR donaldson at
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Kathleen W. Miller <kwmille at> wrote in article
<54u4gg$i3o at>...
> I hate to belabor the finer points of definitions, but I would
> appreciate hearing some opinions on the differences between the terms
> "iatrogenic" and "nosocomial".  Do these terms mean the same thing?
> If not, would someone please give examples of how each ought to be
> used?  
> Thank you for your help.
> Sincerely, Kathy Miller

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