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Doctor slang is a dying art

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Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:29 am

The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients - or each other - is in danger of becoming extinct.
So says a doctor who has spent four years charting more than 200 colourful examples.

Medicine is a profession already overflowing with acronyms and technical terms, and doctors over the years have invented plenty of their own.
However, Dr Adam Fox, who works at St Mary's Hospital in London as a specialist registrar in its child allergy unit, says that far fewer doctors now annotate notes with abbreviations designed to spell out the unsayable truth about their patients.

The increasing rate of litigation means that there is a far higher chance that doctors will be asked in court to explain the exact meaning of NFN (Normal for Norfolk), FLK (Funny looking kid) or GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirt).
Dr Fox recounts the tale of one doctor who had scribbled TTFO - an expletive expression roughly translated as "Told To Go Away" - on a patient's notes.

TOP MEDICAL ABBREVIATIONS
CTD - Circling the Drain (A patient expected to die soon)
GLM - Good looking Mum
GPO - Good for Parts Only
TEETH - Tried Everything Else, Try Homeopathy
UBI - Unexplained Beer Injury

From LOBNH (Lights On But Nobody Home), CNS-QNS (Central Nervous System - Quantity Not Sufficient), to the delightful term "pumpkin positive", which refers to the implication that a penlight shone into the patient's mouth would encounter a brain so small that the whole head would light up.
Regular visitors to A&E on a Friday or Saturday night are also classified.
DBI refers to "Dirt Bag Index", and multiplies the number of tattoos with the number of missing teeth to give an estimate of the number of days since the patient last bathed.

Read the full article on the BBC News Website

Some of these may need explaining to our non-UK members ;-)

Edwin

As a footnote, the BBC article dates from August 2003.
Mrs Admin found it on the Beeb website list night as the 2nd most popular read new item !


Last edited by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:59 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Little Audrey on Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:16 am

No, actually, Edwin, I understood them all perfectly! This is unbelievable!!

I guess we patients should create some for our doctors. First on the list should be UGAM. That would be for useless goats and monkeys!!  Laughing  What do you think?

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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Jasmine2 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 9:39 am

lol!   Edwin and Audrey!  I had a lie in this morning (bad night....), just sitting having my cuppa and spat coffee on my iPad upon reading UGAM!   Hahahahahaha ......  Laughing 

I'll have to get my thinking head on....I recall in my early nursing days (I've retired from clinical practice now) particularly as a student nurse when in those days there was no way patients were ever going to get to see their notes, there were some absolutely outrageous things written by doctors and not always in code ..... 

Jasmine x
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:13 am

I thought that it would raise a few smiles, but sorry about your iPad :-)

Here's some more:


A patient was 38 years old when he was diagnosed as a “heartsink”. The doctors agreed he was TATSP and suggested a TTR immediately.

Although these are not real conditions or procedures, these words do exist within the medical profession. A “heartsink” is a patient whom the doctor dreads seeing, TATSP stands for “Thick As Two Short Planks” and a TTR is a “Tea Time Review”.

This is medical slang, the secret language used by doctors and nurses to describe their duties, patients and complaints. Because much of it is unflattering, many medics will not admit they use it. Few will even talk about its use by others in case they are tarred with the same brush. 
“The relationship between patient and doctor has changed a lot,” explains Dr Paul McDonald, a psychologist based in Birmingham who has researched medical  slang extensively. 
“There’s a lot more challenge now. Scandals in the NHS raised the  issue of how health professionals went about their affairs, the lack of challenging and the lack of monitoring.”

But this does not  mean phrases like “the Q symbol” (tongue out at side of mouth, ie dead) or Friday night favourites PGT (Pissed, Got Thumped) and UBI (Unexplained Beer Injury) have become extinct. They have just gone further underground.

“Of course that type of stuff [slang] is still used,” one trauma consultant at the Royal London told me. “But you’d never write it down now.”

Modern medical slang first came to light in House of God, Samuel Shem’s 1978 novel about the American healthcare system. Since then it has entered the mainstream in televisions shows such as ER, House and Green Wing.

Although no doctor would want to explain “Handbag Positive” (said of a confused elderly lady) or WOOS (Work Out Own Salvation) to a court, a spokeswoman for the Whittington Hospital said there was “not a formal policy either at a hospital or nationwide level” on the issue.

It depends on the type of slang. At the less harmful end of the scale there are the simple abbreviations such as ADSD (Arrived Dead Stayed Dead) and what Dr McDonald calls “letting off steam” examples (“House red” for blood).

“I think that’s the way people under high pressure in the accident and emergency departments cope with death and serious injury. It’s what people do to keep on top of their work,” he says.

“But there are more pejorative terms. The big issue with a word like “heartsink” is: “Is this feeling clouding their [the doctor or GP’s] judgment?” We did one study where it was clear the receptionist knew who the heartsink patients were, which raised issues about the confidentiality of consultation.

“It raised all kinds of issues.”

Not that raising issues will necessarily change anything.

The use of slang and neologisms in medicine is as old as medicine itself.

A fine 1865 example comes from a doctor in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, who advertised an alleged cure for “The Wambling Trot, Moon-Pall and Hockogrockle”.

We, the patients, have always been the dupes, bamboozled by terms we do not understand. For all its ostensible humour, medical slang also confirms the fear, voiced by the writer George Bernard Shaw, that “all prof­essions are con­spiracies against the laity”.

The next time you go to the doctors, listen carefully.
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:26 am

On a similar theme .........

404 moment
The point in a ward round when-despite all efforts to look through the notes or access electronic systems-a particular result cannot be located. (From the world wide web error message “404 document not found.”)

Adminosphere
The pleasantly decorated and furnished palatial offices of trust management or the dean.

Administrivia
The flurry of pointless emails and paperwork that emanate from the adminosphere.

Agnostication
The (usually vain) attempt to answer the question, “How long have I got, doc?”

Blamestorming
A session of mutual recrimination during which a multidisciplinary team attempts to apportion blame for some particularly egregious error.

Disco biscuits
E, ecstasy, or methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) - a class A drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Commonly used as a recreational drug by clubbers. An emergency doctor might say: “The man in cubicle 3 looks like he’s taken one too many disco biscuits.”

Father Jack
The confused, usually elderly patient whose constant high pitched verbal ejaculation and attempts to get out of bed are responsible for insomnia on wards. (From a character in the television series Father Ted, who would sit in the corner of a room shouting “Drink,” “Feck,” “Arse,” etc.)

Fonzie
A middle grade doctor seemingly unflappable in any medical emergency. Based on the character Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli from the American sitcom Happy Days.

Gerifix
A combination of broad spectrum antibiotics, thiazide diuretics, and nebulised bronchodilators (with or without corticosteroids) prescribed to elderly patients admitted to UK hospitals between October and March.

Hasselhoff
A patient presenting to accident and emergency with an injury with a bizarre explanation. (After the former Baywatch actor David Hasselhoff, who suffered a freak injury when he hit his head on a chandelier while shaving. The broken glass severed four tendons as well as an artery in his right arm, which required immediate surgery.

It’s like . . .
The opening words of every medical or nursing student sentence. Just ignore.

Jack Bauer
A doctor still up and working after 24 hours on the job—now something of a rarity but will be recognised by older clinicians.

MacTilt
The lateral movement of the head to an angle of 45° to the vertical by a palliative care nurse specialist. It is intended to convey sympathy and understanding. (Mac from Macmillan nurse—a specialist palliative care nurse—and tilt.)

Mini me
A trainee or medical student who emulates their senior colleague a little too much but doesn’t say a lot. Can be very annoying. (From the character in the Austin Powers films.)

Ringo
Expendable member of a team. (After Ringo Starr, drummer with the Beatles. John, Paul, and George went on to successful solo careers. Ringo did the voiceover for Thomas the Tank Engine.)

Search and rescue
The medical middle grader allocated to look after the patients dotted in non-medical wards.

Testiculation
The holding forth with expressive hand gestures by a consultant on a subject on which he or she has little knowledge. (Concatenation of testicle and gesticulate.)

Ward 101
The source of referrals that fills the recipient with dread. (From room 101, which contained all the deepest fears of the protagonist in George Orwell’s novel 1984.)
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:28 am

Oh dear.  I keep finding more ....

Names of semi-medical conditions
GOKGod only knows
acopiathe inability to cope
cheeriomaa fatal tumour
DOAdead on arrival
rule of fiveA patient’s condition is critical if they have more than five pieces of equipment attached to them
LOBNHlights on but nobody home
PDEpissed, denies everything
TATTtired all the time
UBIunexplained beer injury
TEETHtried everything else, try homeopathy
Medical life
metabolic clinicthe coffee or tea room
ash cashmoney for signing cremation forms
the departure loungegeriatric ward
expensive scareintensive care
granny dumpingbringing old people into hospital before bank holidays
feet up generalquiet general hospital
pathology outpatientsthe mortuary
Colleagues
Freud Squad, trick cyclists, pest controlpsychiatrists
pox docsstaff of the genital-urinary clinic
slasherssurgeons
gassersanaesthetists
inbreddoctors whose parents were doctors
Patients
crumble, wrinkly, coffin dodgerelderly patient
GROLIESGuardian reader of limited intelligence in ethnic skirt
YSMyummy scrummy mummy
LOLlittle old lady
SIGstroppy, ignorant girl
CLLchronic low life
crispy crittersevere burns victim
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Jasmine2 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 10:40 am

Ah yes, I remember 'heartsink' - every time a particular patient walks in it makes the doctor's heart sink ..... and TATT (that's me ...), pox dox, ash cash, pathology OP, slashers, gassers, GOK - ah yes I remember them well; and another one often used by GPs - HIM = hysterical irrational mother.

Thank you Edwin, thoroughly enjoyable read ..... and a bit of nostalgia for me......! 

How ya doin'? Still taking it easy? Hope you soon lose the anxiety about your aches, pains and twinges, know the feeling well!  When I was first diagnosed with coronary heart disease (albeit early stage and mild, not requiring stentage) I was paranoid for ages and got panicky every time I got a bit of pain or tightness, but I'm over that now and feel much more rational about it.  Bigger fish to fry I suppose ......

Jasmine x
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:02 am

@Jasmine2 wrote:How ya doin'? Still taking it easy? Hope you soon lose the anxiety about your aches, pains and twinges, know the feeling well!  When I was first diagnosed with coronary heart disease (albeit early stage and mild, not requiring stentage) I was paranoid for ages and got panicky every time I got a bit of pain or tightness, but I'm over that now and feel much more rational about it.  Bigger fish to fry I suppose ......

Jasmine x

I think that I will be on-edge until I have the stress-echo test next month and find-out whether additional plumbing work is needed.

Edwin
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Jasmine2 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:07 am

Sorry Edwin, just read my post again and I didn't intend to equate my mild CHD with what you're going through - no comparison - but it seemed to come across that way, stupid me .....

Jasmine x
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 11:16 am

@Jasmine2 wrote:Sorry Edwin, just read my post again and I didn't intend to equate my mild CHD with what you're going through - no comparison - but it seemed to come across that way, stupid me .....

Jasmine x

No need to apologise Jasmine.
It did not even occur to me that there was any comparison to make.

We each have our own stories, have to get-on with our lives the best we can and sharing our experiences can be good therapy.
If I were that sensitive, I would not be posting about it.

Edwin
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Little Audrey on Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:50 pm

I often wonder exactly what my doctors say and write about me after my appointments. Wish I could read their notes. I'm sure they are very interesting! Glad you thought to post this, Edwin.

I also hope you are doing well recovering from all of your resent health issues. Sometimes when I start feeling sorry for myself, I stop and think just how lucky I actually am that I am not dealing with more, like so many of you are! You all seem to be dealing with so darned much.

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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 1:01 pm

@Little Audrey wrote:
I also hope you are doing well recovering from all of your resent health issues.    Sometimes when I start feeling sorry for myself, I stop and think just how lucky I actually am that I am not dealing with more, like so many of you are!   You all seem to be dealing with so darned much.  

Audrey

It is sometimes useful to remind ourselves that there are others who are in a worse state than we.
For better or worse, our past and present medical experiences are part of us and are reflected in our characters.

I know that my first medical "challenge" had a significant impact on my character - for the better, I should add.

Edwin
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Lucycatnaps on Sun Apr 27, 2014 2:53 pm

When I was training, we had a house doc we nicknamed Tetley, he was useless at siting intravenous drips and left all his patients full of perforations!
Definitely brings back memories!
Sue
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Little Audrey on Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:26 pm

Good one, Sue!!

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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Rosie11011 on Sun Apr 27, 2014 4:41 pm

The only one I really remember from my nursing days in the 70's was ringing the porters when there was a patient for the 'Winter Gardens', (meaning of course the mortuary.)  However, when I went to work in Blackpool, the Winter Gardens Pavilion is in the town centre, so the hospital there used the term 'Rose Cottage.'  The idea was that the patients who overheard wouldn't latch on that someone had died.  It never worked.
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Amanda Lynne on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:00 pm

Hi All
This has made me laugh so much. I needed it  Very Happy 
Amanda xxxx
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Admin on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:18 pm

@Amanda Lynne wrote:Hi All
This has made me laugh so much. I needed it  Very Happy 
Amanda xxxx

Excellent  - That's the result that I was hoping for.

Edwin
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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by Little Audrey on Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:43 pm

Yes, laughter truly IS the best medicine! Thank you all for keeping me well-medicated!  Smile  Who needs drugs?!

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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

Post by danicayetano on Thu May 01, 2014 5:20 pm

Seconding that, this thread gave me the laugh I really needed tonight. I might adopt some of these into my own vernacular - "coffin dodger" is brilliant xD

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Re: Doctor slang is a dying art

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