Tasteless Medical Slang

 Posted by on 6 August 2006 at 7:20 pm  Health Care
Aug 062006

After a busy weekend on call at our Level 1 Trauma Center, I thought I’d post some examples of classic medical slang. Here’s a related list, with a more UK flavor. And of course, there’s a Wikipedia entry. Most of these terms are never used in front of patients, for obvious reasons.

Angel lust: a male corpse with an erection (not uncommon). Is also sometimes used to mean death that occurred during intercourse.
BFH: Brat From Hell, usually accompanied by PFH, i.e., Parent(s) from Hell
Bobbing for apples: unblocking a badly constipated patient with one’s finger
Bury the Hatchet: accidently leave a surgical instrument inside a patient.
Code brown: Incontinence-related emergency
DBI: Dirtbag index, which is calculated by the number of tattoos on the body multiplied by number of recentmissing teeth, to estimate days without a bath
Donorcycle: motorbike, the biggest cause of donated organs!
FTF: Failure to fly, for attempted suicide victims
GPO: Good for Parts Only
Journal Of Anecdotal Medicine: The source to quote for less than evidence-based medical facts
N=1 trial: Polite term for experimenting on a patient
Neuro-fecal Syndrome: S**t for brains
Organ recital: A hypochondriac’s medical history
O-sign: Found on the very sick patient who lies with mouth open. Precedes Q-sign
Q-sign: Following the O-sign, it’s when the terminal patient’s tongue hangs out of their open mouth
Rule of five: If more than five orifices are obscured by plastic tubing then the patient’s condition is critical
TFBUNDY: Totally f*cked but unfortunately not dead yet. Best avoided in the medical notes
TUBE: Totally unnecessary breast examination
UBI: Unexplained beer injury, for all those hungover people on Sunday mornings with black eyes or swollen knees and no idea how they’d got them
Whopper with cheese: Fat woman with yeast infection

Although this sounds suspiciously like an urban legend, there is a supposedly true story of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO (“Told To F*** Off”) in a patient’s chart. When the case later went to trial, the doctor was asked by the judge what the acronym meant, and luckily for him he had the presence of mind to say: “To take fluids orally”.

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