ST. PAUL, MN – After 20 years of clinical practice as Professor of Urology at the University Institute, Dr. Nick Riviera had effectively become numb to the daily mispronunciation of the word “prostate.” As the number one problem-causing gland in men’s health, the prostate was the most common source of consultation and patient evaluation in his busy clinical practice.
“For my first 2-3 years of practice when I was energetic and young,” Riviera explained, “every time a patient or another health care professional mistakenly used the term ‘prostrate’ when referring to the prostate gland, I would make an effort to correct them.” Riviera continued, sipping coffee, “In fact, back then I would become so annoyed by the use of the words ‘prostrate gland,’ I would even offer the actual definition of the word prostrate to clarify for the ill-informed. (Adjective: lying face down, emotionally devastated).”
“Nowadays,” Riviera lamented, “I have actually just started calling it the prostrate gland myself… it’s just easier.” Riviera continued. “Look, I know as a physician and an educator I should be using the correct medical term for one of the most common sources of cancer in men, but the people have spoken, they truly believe it is a prostrate gland, and so I’ve decided to just play ball.”
“There was one time,” Riviera recalled, smiling, “about 4 or 5 months ago, a 75-year-old man came in complaining of nocturia.” Riviera went on. “After I rectalized him, I sat down and told him, ‘Sir, I think you have an enlarged prostrate.’ That man looked me directly in the eye and without hesitation said, ‘Doc, don’t you mean you think I have an enlarged prostate?'”
“I was so shocked that I gasped and aspirated a piece of jelly donut,” Riviera explained. “When I could speak, I asked that patient, ‘What are you, a retired urologist or something?’ The man looked back and me and said, ‘No, I’m just not an idiot.'”