Discourse and medical practice. 
This interdisciplinary study  is a hospital based inquiry into discourse strategies employed by physicians and patients as participants in spoken and written interaction leading to patients' consent to diagnostic procedures, therapeutic courses, research protocols, and the like.
The striking increase in patients' dissatisfaction and complaints, of law suits for malpractice and consequent physicians' growing insecurity, together with the institutions' awakened sense of responsibility have converged to constitute the social demand  which motivated the direction of this research.
Observations carried out in the pilot study, both on the spoken exchanges and on the written consent forms, led to the realization that physicians and patients, although being of the same native language background would experience communication difficulties.
The hypothesis was formulated by which the patent language-related causes of communication breakdown could be due to different habits and expectations for organizing discourse of 'compatriots' belonging to different subcultural groups and competent in different social dialects. 
Crucial to the validity of a signed informed consent form is the patient's understanding of the information that is meant to be disclosed.
Exploring the perceived needs of the individuals (physician and patient) who meet and interact toward one goal , within an institution, consideration was in order of the attending implications (of the study) for the individuals as well as for the institution involved. A corpus
was composed of a relevant number of physician-patient speech events, personally witnessed and tape recorded, and of a variety of consent forms.
Some of the most striking linguistic problems that were isolated are: the overly frequent use of academic language rather than service-related language; the choice of specialised, technical language and jargon unfamiliar to the patient; the frequent use of 'mitigation' that often results in unclear, ambiguous messages; doctor instruction speech acts that are uttered as projection of patients' will, intention and choice;  persuasive language replacing objective motivation for the proposed course of treatment or diagnostic procedures; possibly unintentional disregard of the language differences due to diverse socio-economic backgrounds of the  verbal exchange participants, and the like.
 The theoretical significance of the study  regards the focus on the social control issue in  medical discourse, in the effort to identify the strictly linguistic patterns more apt to reach  better  balanced verbal exchanges,  thereby reducing ambiguity and rhetorical uncertainty  as well as  the power-solidarity gap in the physician-patient  communication events.