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spatulate

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(spăch′ŭ-lāt″) To mix something with a spatula to achieve a uniform, homogeneous mass.

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spay

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(spā) Surgical removal of the ovaries (esp. of animals). SEE: castration.

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SPCA

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Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

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speaker's bureau

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A group of academic or otherwise influential health care specialists who are employed by pharmaceutical companies to give conferences or presentations about current drug therapies.

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spear tackler's spine

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Injury to the cervical spine resulting from players using their heads as a primary point of impact with their opponents' bodies in contact sports such as football or soccer. This condition is considered an absolute contraindication to participation in contact sports in which high-energy axial loads may be applied to the cervical spine because it markedly heightens the risk of nerve injury or paralysis. Spear tackler's spine is based on four criteria:

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1. developmental stenosis of the cervical vertebral canal;

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2. loss of the normal lordotic cervical curvature;

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3. radiographic evidence of posttraumatic abnormalities of the cervical spine; and

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4. a history of axial loads delivered to the cervical spine.

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special care baby unit

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ABBR: SCBU. A neonatal intensive care unit.

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specialist

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(spesh′ă-lĭst) A dentist, nurse, physician, or other health professional who has advanced education and training in one clinical area of practice such as internal medicine, pediatrics, surgery, ophthalmology, neurology, maternal and child health, or cardiology. In most specialized areas of health care, there are organizations offering qualifying examinations. When an individual meets all of the criteria of such a board, he or she is called "board certified" in that area.

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specialization

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(spash″ă-lĭ-zā′shŏn) Limitation of one's practice to a particular branch of medicine, surgery, dentistry, or nursing. This is customarily done after postgraduate training in the area of specialization.

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special need

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Any disability or functional limitation, e.g., attention deficit disorder, autism, blindness, deafness, emotional or psychological disorder, or impaired mobility requiring special assistance.

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special needs child

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A child who is protected by governmental agencies and made ready for adoption after abandonment, abuse, or neglect in his or her home. SYN: waiting child.

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specialty

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(spesh′ăl-tē) The branch of medicine, surgery, dentistry, or nursing in which a specialist practices.

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specialty hospital

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SEE: under hospital.

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speciation

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(spē″sē-ā′shŏn, spē shē-ā′ shŏn) 1. The evolutionary process by which new species of living organisms are formed. 2. The identification of the species of an organism, e.g., of an infectious bacterium.

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