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Hospital Slang
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December 06, 2009, 03:15 AM
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Medical slang appears to be slowly dying out due to the discovery process in lawsuits, but it offered a rich lexicon when I first learned of it in the 1980s from a friend who worked in an emergency room. Here are some selections from Wikipedia`s rather British-oriented list:
  • Agnostication - A substitute for prognostication. Term used to describe the usually vain attempt to answer the question: "How long have I got, doc?" [2]
  • ART - Assuming Room Temperature (dying)
  • ATS - Acute Thespian Syndrome (the patient is faking illness)
  • Bury the Hatchet - accidentally leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient [3]
  • CNS-QNS - Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient. [1]
  • DBI - Dirt Bag Index - multiply the number of tattoos by the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed. [1]
  • Dermaholiday - dermatology, considered to be a less-busy department. See rheumaholiday
  • Donorcycle - nursing slang for a motorcycle, so named due to the amount of head trauma associated with motorcycle accidents, but less so with the body, making the perfect candidate for organ donation[6]
  • GOMER - "get out of my emergency room" - a patient, usually poor or elderly, in the emergency room with a chronic, non-emergency condition. The name was popularized by Samuel Shem in his novel The House of God.[8]
  • GROLIES - Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt. [1]
  • Hasselhoff - a term for any patient who shows up in the emergency room with an injury for which there is a bizarre explanation. Original Source: Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, who hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed four tendons and an artery in his right arm. [2]
  • Oligoneuronal meaning someone who is thick (not smart). [2]
  • Polybabydadic - The state of having illegitimate children by several fathers, known or unknown.[9]
  • Pumpkin positive refers to the idea that a person`s brain is so tiny that a penlight shone into their mouth will make their empty head gleam like a Halloween pumpkin. [1][2]
  • Rear Admiral - a proctologist [3]
  • Status Hispanicus - An overly agitated Hispanic patient (often Caribbean, seldom Mexican) who cannot stop screaming about their condition without providing useful information. [10]
  • TEETH - tried everything else, try homeopathy.[1][5]
  • UBI - "Unexplained Beer Injury" [1][2][3][5]
  • Vitamin H - A Haldol injection, used in the ER setting to rapidly sedate patients (often already drunk or high) who display dangerous or destructive behavior that threatens the safety of hospital staff and other patients[11].