The case report: a way to improve the basic vocabulary in ESP


Authors: Lien Mazorra Acosta

Inma Noriega Sariol

Advisors: Julián Milpt Cala

Consultant: Concepción Bueno Velazco


"The case report: a way to improve the basic vocabulary in ESP" is carried out in the Faculty of Dentistry of the Medical School in Camagüey by two fourth-year dental students, with the help of two teachers of English, in the academic year 2000-2001. The paper is aimed to outstand the vocabulary most frequently-used for case report. It is also the intention of the authors to help students to get familiar with the basic language elements to write appropriate examples of case report in the English language. For the completion of this paper it was necessary to consult different books and journals to get the information rendered. It was demonstrated through the mid-term evaluation that the students used more than 70 % of the information considered for giving the report.


Case reports have been of great interest to doctors, dentists, and even teachers of English for a long time. It is the activity that permits professionals to exchange knowledge about the case in question, some troublesome situations or unusual procedures. Professionals may bring their cases to analysis and discussion owing to the importance of the medical or dental entity as such or because the technique employed is new, not common, or of interest to everyone.

It is the case report that helps the specialists give a summary of the patientís data found in the anamnesis, the physical examination, and others tests in the light of the theoretical knowledge and the necessary information which students and other medical personnel have to establish a diagnosis and give a therapeutical plan as well as the corresponding prognosis (1).

Due to the diversity of viewing case reports by different authors, and the lack of bibliography with a methodological approach to case reports the authors of this paper intend to outstand the vocabulary most frequently-used for case report.

It is also the objective to help students practice the basic language items to write appropriate examples of case reports.



Case reports make possible the students training in the use of the language. These reports may be rendered either written or orally with the possible faulty management of the structures of the language or the vocabulary useful to accomplish their task.

The bibliographical revision helped to disclose the fundamental aspects to be considered for case reports. These aspects may be summarized as follows: patientís age, sex, race, and occupation. The patientís chief complaint should also be taken into account, along with his medical and family history (2), (Appendix 1)

Details of his complaint should be noted in conjunction with findings on the physical examination and other tests (Appendix 2); together with the diagnosis arrived at and the treatment plan.

The information of case report is given through certain verbs, which are content carriers and stress the main idea of the report (Appendix 3). There are other groups of verbs, which enlarge the report (Appendix 4), and make it more elegant (Appendix 5).

The verbs suggested do not belong solely into one group, it means they can be used for any purpose provided the meaning they convey is clear to the hearer or reader. The notion of the report is also emphasized through the use of phrases and expressions that facilitate getting the message through. (Appendix 6)


The analysis of the samples given shows that the students may use most of the information needed for writing the reports. (Appendix 7)

The students have moved a step forward to the mechanism and techniques of writing while using the grammatical structures of the language in addition to the main vocabulary items. These items together with the expressions suggested serve as a guide for the students to write their report.


  1. Reglamento para el trabajo docente metodológico de los centros de educación médica superior. La Habana: Ministerio de Salud Pública, P, 24.
  2. Grundy JR. Color atlas of conservative dentistry. Chicago: YearBook Medical Publisher. P, 144.
  3. Fernández VentosaT, Echea Anido A, Domínguez Pacheco P, Horta Llano E, Vilasuso T, Castro Santiesteban N, et al Dentally Speaking I. La Habana: Ministerio de Salud Pública. 1990.
  4. Fernández VentosaT, Echea Anido A, Domínguez Pacheco P, Horta Llano E, Vilasuso T, Castro Santiesteban N. Dentally Speaking II. La Habana: Ministerio de Salud Pública.1990.
  5. Spalton DJ, Sever PS, Dorrington P. 100 cases for the MRCP. Edingburgh: Churchill Livingnstone. 1982

Appendix 1

Data collection for case presentation




Appendix 2


  1. General assessment- appearance, build, etc.
  2. Facial examination
  3. Oral examination

  1. Special tests

Appendix 3


Present He presented to his dentist because of bad breath.

Notice He has noticed wobbly (3)

Admit He admitted having scaling before. He was admitted for further investigation.

Suffer He had suffered episodes of bleeding.

Show The examination showed him to be prone to rampant caries.

Refer The patient was referred to periodontics for further treatments.

Complain The patient complained of foul breath.

Treat The girl had been treated for juvenile periodontitis. (3)

Receive The patient received root planing every three months.

Continue Besides our efforts loss of attachment continued. (3)

Prescribe The dentist prescribed a course of tetracycline. (3)

Appendix 4


Feel He has felt mild pain in his joint.

Lose He was losing appetite.

Ease Warm mouthwash eases bleeding. (3)

Find No other abnormalities were found.

Practice The girl has practiced excellent oral hygiene. (3)

Develop Juvenile periodontitis developed at the age of 12. (3)

Do Occlusal equilibration was done. (4)

Deny The patient denied any taste for citrus.

Bring The boy was brought to the clinic by his mother.

Determine The cause of infection was determined and the tooth was dressed.

Appendix 5


Reveal Probing revealed deep pockets in lower incisors.(4)

Become aware of He became aware of his mottled teeth.

Advise He was advised to give up smoking.

Fail to respond The weeping canal failed to respond to several antibiotic dressings.

Confirm X-rays were used to confirm the diagnosis.

Request/ A thermal test should be requested and a radiographic survey performed. (5)


Encourage The patient was encouraged to have plaque control more often.

Exclude Pulpitis must be excluded.

Note Her Bp was noted to be 180/ 105. (5)

Appendix 6

Examples of expressions use

Appendix 7

Samples of case reports made by fourth-year dental students. They are taken from the mid-term. evaluation. Numbers above words indicate the quantity items used from those suggested.

The examples are copied the same way the students wrote them.

Write a case report out of the information given. Place the information in the correct order.

Sample one (high achiever)

1A 12 year old boy was admitted to the medical schoolís clinic. He refers having had a trauma. 2The examination showed him to have a diagonal fracture in the crown of 11 and 3cut in lips. 4X-ray showed me the pulp was involved with the fracture.

First of all 5the lips was sutured and after that 6cavity was prepared in the crown of 11; a direct pulp capping with Calcium hydroxide and 7glass ionomer restoration were done, pin placement was used. 8The instructions to assess good results were explained by the dentist. 9A 7-day appointment to stitches removal and restoration evaluation was given and 10monthly check-ups was advised.

Sample two (Standard)

We are concerned about a 1male patient of 12 who came to the clinic complaining of bleeding and a fracture in one of his teeth. During the examination 2a cut in his lips was detected and 3a diagonal fracture of crown of 11 was seen. 4The x-ray was suggested, it revealed that the pulp of this tooth was affected. 5A suture was given to his lips and as soon as the bleeding was stopped a 6cavity was prepared on 11.

The use of the 7pin placement was recommended because the cavity was large and deep, before that a direct pulp capping was given to protect the pulp. A restoration with ionomer is more esthetic thatís why it was suggested. 8The instructions are very important in this case, to assess good results. The instructions were the patient couldnít bite hard food and he couldnít drink coffe or te. 9The patient was called 7 days after and the restoration was evaluated and the stich was removed.

Sample three (very low achiever)

1A 12-year old boy was admit to the deparment of 12 cillones of Ciencias Medicas Clinic with a history of accident the patient refered impat tooth.

The examination sowed a 2diagonal fracture of crown of 11 and 3cut in lips and 4the x-rays revealed pulp involvement, the treatment was a 5lips suture and a 6cavity preparation of 7glass ionomer restoration with pin placement.