To the Editor: The interesting article on preferred terms for users of mental health services by Dr. Sharma and associates in the February 2000 issue revealed the growing tendency of "patient" to be replaced by "client."
Webster's dictionary defines "client" as a person dependent on another, as for protection or patronage (from the Latin "cliens," follower, retainer).
In the Oxford dictionary, we read that a client was "a plebeian under protection of a patrician," a "dependent" or "hanger on."
I leave it to readers to draw their own conclusions.
Dr. Cahn is associate professor of psychiatry at McGill University in Montreal.