Sadly, Doctor slang is a dying art. Very funny.

Posted: May 2, 2014 in Humour, Political musings, Popular Culture et al
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Surgeons

Is doctor slang on the wane?

The inventive language created by doctors the world over to insult their patients – or each other – is apparently 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.

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

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.

He told BBC News Online: “This guy 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’.”

Quaint up North

Regional dialects abound, even in the world of the medical abbreviation.

In the north of England, the TTR (Tea Time Review) of a patient is commonplace, but not in the south.

And the number of terms for patients believed to be somewhat intellectually challenged is enormous.

Patient

“I can’t believe what he just called me…”

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.

A PFO refers to a drunken patient who sustained injury falling over, (Pissed Fell Over) while a PGT “Got Thumped” instead.

MEDICAL TERMS – A GLOSSARY
Digging for Worms – varicose vein surgery
Departure lounge – geriatric ward
Handbag positive – confused patient (usually elderly lady) lying on hospital bed clutching handbag
Woolworth’s Test – Anaesthetic term. (If you can imagine patient shopping in Woolies, it’s safe to give a general anaesthetic)

This is an international language – Dr Fox’s research reveals that a PIMBA in Brazil can be translated as a “swollen-footed, drunk, run-over beggar”.

Doctor insult

And much of the slang is directed at colleagues rather than patients.

Thus Rheumatology, considered by hard-pressed juniors one of the less busy specialties, becomes “Rheumaholiday”, the “Freud Squad” are psychiatrists, and “Gassers” and “Slashers” are anaesthetists and general surgeons respectively.

Dr Fox is keen to point out that neither he, nor the other authors of the paper, published in the journal Ethics and Behavior, actually advocate using any of the terms.

He said: “It’s a form of communication, and it needs to be recorded. It may not be around forever.”

He said: “I do think that doctors are genuinely more respectful of their patients these days.”

If that is the case, perhaps the delights of a “Whopper with Cheese”, “Handbag positive” or “Coffin dodger” could be lost forever.

(From the BBC, with thanks.)

We say: it would be a shame if such humour was lost because of political correctness. We are sure other industries must have similar shorthand terms. Certainly in the ad business – well in our agency, anyhow – we talk about PLU – “People Like Us” – people who share our general world outlook, are pleasant to deal with, and thus make good customers or suppliers. If we remember correctly the terms was first coined by none other than Margaret Thatcher to describe political colleagues who could be relied upon.

The funniest we’ve ever heard was “He’s a complete ankle.” An ankle being lower than a C-word. Certainly someone to be avoided …

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Comments
  1. Sabina says:

    If you enjoy irreverent medical humour, grab a copy of “The House of God” by Samuel Shem. It’s a hilarious and scary read and provides essential education for medical interns. Not recommended if you’re about to be admitted to hospital.

    Like

  2. chris B says:

    I remember another one from a similar article many years ago. TF Bundy. Totally F**ed But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet

    Like

  3. Dr E H says:

    It’s not TF Bundy, it’s FUBAR BUNDY – Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition, But Unfortunately Not Dead Yet

    Also

    TUBE – Totally Unnecessary Breast Exam
    NAD – used as a ‘legitimate’ abbreviation to mean ‘Nothing Abnormal Detected’ (eg ‘abdo exam NAD’) but said to actually mean ‘Not Actually Done’
    NFFH – Not Fit For Haircut (when assessing patients’ fitness for various types of anaesthesia)
    GOK – God Only Knows (as a diagnosis)
    Triple H enema – High, Hot, and Hell of a lot

    Loads more but these are the only ones I can think of right now

    Like

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