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Medical Slang

- A -

  • Ambo

  • Transporting ambulance

  • Ambu

  • Ambu Bag

  • Amp and gent

  • Ampicillin and gentamicin; spell them out

  • Appy

  • Spell out appendectomy

  • Art line

  • Arterial line; spell it out

  • A's and B's

  • Apnea and bradycardia...sometimes, particularly when referring to a neonate. A note to the dictator might be in order here, especially if dictated in the diagnosis or if the meaning is unclear

  • Avpu

  • Mnemonic for assessing level of consciousness

- B -

  • Bag/banana bag

  • Liter of IV fluids given to alcoholic intoxications named because of its yellow color, and contains multivitamins, folate, thiamine, and sugar. Its goal is to provide hydration as well as depleted nutrients, the absence of which can cause complications in alcoholics.

  • Bagging

  • Ventilation patient

  • Banana bag

  • Acceptable term; an IV potassium drip

  • Banger/gang banger

  • ER patient, often referred to as being in the ER due to traumatic injury, involved in gang activities, specifically violent acts

  • BIBA

  • Brought in by ambulance

  • Bili

  • Bilirubin; spell it out

  • Bili lights

  • An acceptable and long-used term, dictated usually by neonatologists in reference to lights used in treatment of neonatal jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia)

  • Binky test

  • Ability of an infant to evidence basic stability and an interest in "the important things in life" by placidly sucking on a pacifier

  • Bleed

  • Routine lingo for a hemorrhage (can be used in many phrases, such as arterial bleed, GI bleed, head bleed, venous bleed)

  • Blue bloater/pink puffer

  • Stereotypical description of bodily appearance of COPD patients with chronic bronchitis and emphysema

  • Body packer

  • Drug courier who swallows bags/condoms of drugs

  • Bounce back

  • Patient who returns to ER with same complaint shortly after being released

  • Bovied

  • you can substitute "Bovie coagulated"; however "bovied" has become an acceptable corruption of the proper noun. Do not capitalize a term whose part of speech has been changed, even if it has been derived from a proper noun. Such terms are referred to as "back-formations" A back-formation is a coined verb which was formed from an already existing noun, and the result is technically not a dictionary term. Medical dictators love to make verbs out of nouns which are about as acceptable as the bastardization of the noun modem into "modemed" a term many of us use in our everyday conversation. Follow the guidelines of your employer with regard to usage of these back-formations. As long as the meaning is clear, it may be an exercise in futility to attempt to convert such commonly dictated terms into the deathless prose we would like our transcription to be. Aside from that, many dictators do not take kindly to our changing their dictation style. As author/teacher, Vera Pyle was fond of saying, "Doctors dictate, transcriptionists transcribe."

  • Bruisability

  • Not a word in the true sense, but used a great deal by dictators to indicate that the patient bruises easily. Okay to type as dictated.

  • Bus

  • Sometimes used to describe a transporting ambulance

- C -

  • Cap gas

  • Capillary blood gas; spell it out

  • Catcher's mask

  • Device used for patients with bleeding varices in throat to stop bleeding

  • Cathed

  • Catheterized; spell it out

  • Champagne tap

  • Clear tap; no blood

  • Chandelier sign

  • Intense amount of physical response, including near levitation from the bed to the chandelier on the ceiling, induced by examining for cervical motion tenderness in cases of pelvic inflammatory disease

  • Chapter

  • Usually refers to a delusional or hallucinatory patient (from legalese Chapter 51, etc.)

  • Chicken spray

  • Nickname for ethyl chloride spray, liquid used for transiently numbing injection sites

  • Circling the drain

  • Patient's future prospects of life are dim; rapid deterioration

  • Coag

  • Coagulation (time)

  • Code black

  • Deceased patient

  • Code brown

  • Incontinent patient

  • Code call

  • Urgent medical emergency

  • Code green

  • Ambulatory injury; walking wounded

  • Code red

  • Critical patient

  • Code yellow

  • Urgent trauma

  • Coke

  • Street name for cocaine

  • Consented

  • Statement is often made "The patient was consented for surgery." What is actually meant, of course, is that the patient signed an Informed Consent form. However, the misused form of "consent" is becoming quite popular, and the meaning is not distorted by this phrase. See "bovied" and "double-doc'ed" for further discussion on such terms.

  • Crack

  • Street name for a particularly potent crystalline solid form of cocaine

  • Crank

  • Mixture of crack cocaine and another stimulant, such as amphetamine

  • Crasher

  • Someone who passes out in ER (usually family member)

  • Crispy critter

  • Severely burned patient

  • Crit

  • Hematocrit; spell it out

  • Crock

  • Patient whose physical complaints are without organic or discernible basis or frankly bogus

- D -

  • D&D

  • "Death and donuts"-slang for morbidity/mortality conference

  • DC

  • Discontinue (or) discharge; when the meaning is obvious, as it usually is, spell it out.

  • Dead shovel

  • Obese male patient who dies while shoveling snow

  • Decels

  • Decelerations; expand to full word in reports

  • Dehisced

  • Actually, a wound does not dehisce; it is in a state of dehiscence, but here again the word has become acceptable through usage. See "bovied."

  • DeLee'd

  • A better way would be to substitute "DeLee suctioned"

  • Demerol sponge

  • Great capacity, tolerance to, and desire for high doses of narcotics by patients with chronic pain management problems

  • Dex

  • Spell out dexamethasone

  • DFO

  • "Done fell out"-dialectical expression of syncope

  • Di-di twins

  • Spell out dichorionic-diamniotic

  • Diff

  • As in "CBC with diff." It's best to spell out the word differential; however, the short form is acceptable in most facilities.

  • Diffusely positive

  • Review of systems patient who reports findings or complaints broadly through each system of the body during the history interview of formal examination

  • Dig ("dij")

  • Spell out digitalis. Even if the doctor is indicating digoxin, both are digitalis-derived drugs, and "dig" by itself is confusing and interrupts flow of thought.

  • Digitalized

  • Not a proper term, but widely used. See "bovied"

  • Digitation

  • Aside from the dictionary definition(s), ED doctors sometimes use this to mean amputation of a digit. When the meaning is clear, it should be transcribed as "amputation of digit" to avoid confusion with the legitimate definition.

  • Dope addict

  • Patient addicted to (illicit) substances, usually cocaine or heroin

  • Double-doc'ed

  • Meaning that two procedures are planned to be performed on the patient involving two surgeons such as an orthopedist and a plastic surgeon requiring two consents to be signed. You could possibly change the statement to say that the patient was consented (or signed consents) for both procedures. This one is a dilemma, and quite often we resort to putting this spurious term in quotes.

  • DRT

  • "Dead right there''-patient has been deceased long enough to greatly decrease the probability of resuscitation

  • Duck

  • Slang for a male urinal from its typical white enamelware construction and its similar silhouette to the bird

  • Dumbbells

  • Mnemonic for cholinergic overdose (diarrhea, urination, miosis/muscle weakness, bronchorrhea, bradycardia, emesis, lacrimation, salivation/sweating)

- E -

  • Echo

  • Echo what? echocardiogram? ECHO virus infection? echoencephalogram? Be certain of the meaning if you are going to expand the term. Otherwise, leave the prefix as dictated.

  • Epi

  • Epinephrine; spell it out

  • Epi sick

  • Pale, green, nauseous, chest-pounding, tachycardiac appearance of patient who has received aggressive subcutaneous epinephrine therapy in anaphylaxis or status asthmaticus

  • Ex lap

  • Spell out exploratory laparotomy

  • Exam

  • An acceptable short form of the word examination.

- F -

  • Face plant

  • Victim fell forward injuring face against floor or other object

  • Fame

  • Mnemonic for assessment of endocarditis

  • FLB

  • "Funny-looking beat"-indeterminate or chaotic aberrance on the cardiac monitor that is not well described or not well seen as the tracing went by

  • Floater

  • Patient who has drowned and been in water for some time

  • Fluctuance

  • Used to indication the presence of a fluctuant mass. (not "fluctuants") This particular non-word has been hotly discussed on MT chat pages on the internet. It has become acceptable through usage.

  • FOF

  • Found on floor

  • FOS

  • Full of stool-clinical or radiographic determination that the patient's intestinal tract is full of stool found on sidewalk

  • Four H's

  • Hypoxemia, hypoglycemia, hypovolemia, and high bladder

  • Frequent flyer

  • Patient who overuses ER

  • FTD

  • Fixing to die-patient's future prospects of life are dim; rapid deterioration

  • FUBAR'ed

  • Fouled up beyond all recognition-used to describe either the severely traumatized individual or an intoxicated state so profound as to alter the patient's ability to be recognized as himself

- G -

  • GGF1

  • Grandpa's got a fever-battery of tests for elderly with fever of unknown origin

  • GI cocktail

  • Donnatal, viscous lidocaine, and Mylanta

  • Glove up and dig in

  • Bowel impaction

  • Glyco

  • Hemoglobin

  • Golden hour/golden window

  • 1st hour after myocardial infarction

  • Gomer

  • Get out of my emergency room---term for elderly patients with multiple complicated medical complaints

  • Gorked

  • Obtunded or not alert, either acutely or chronically

- H -

  • H. flu

  • Okay to leave the H. as an abbreviation, but spell out influenzae

  • Heparinized

  • Same principle as "bovied"

  • Histo

  • Histo what? histoplasmosis? histiocyte? A note may be in order here unless the meaning is absolutely clear.

  • HOD

  • Heroin overdose

- I -

  • Impossible meningioma

  • Okay to transcribe as dictated; refers to meningioma near the optic foramen

  • Incentaloma

  • Okay to type; means a mass discovered on sonogram that was not previously palpable

- J -

  • Jake

  • Can refer to one of the Jako instruments or any instrument the surgeon wants it to. See joker.

  • JIC tube

  • Just in case---when drawing blood for lab studies, JIC tube is drawn just in case the doctor adds more to the lab order later on

  • Joker

  • May refer to any instrument a surgeon or ED doctor is used to being handed at this point in a surgery or repair procedure.

  • Jump start

  • Cardiac defibrillation

  • Jumper

  • Patient who commits suicide by jumping from a structure

  • Junky

  • Patient addicted to illicit substances, usually cocaine or heroin

  • Junky lungs

  • Nonspecific lung disease/noise; worthy of a note to the dictator.

- K -

  • Knife and gun club

  • Used to describe potential patients who could come into the ER by virtue of either form of penetrating traumatic injury, i.e., the traumatic epidemiology from weapons that contributes to the case load of an ER

- L -

  • Lab

  • Laboratory/laboratory data; an acceptable short form

  • Laboring

  • In OB/GYN usage, labor should be a noun; the patient is in labor, not laboring (although many women would disagree). If dictated as "The patient was laboring satisfactorily" this should be recast to read "The patient was having satisfactory labor."

  • Landmark walking

  • Practice of the ataxic, infirm, seasick, drunk, and others of unconfident stability and gait, of walking from one object to another to steady oneself or rest before moving on to the next

  • LWBS

  • "Left without being seen"---abbreviation placed upon charts to account for patients who no longer can be accounted for

  • Lytes

  • Electrolytes; spell it out

  • Lytes

  • Electrolytes

- M -

  • Meat wagon

  • Transporting ambulance

  • Mec, mec-staining

  • Referring to meconium, which spell out

  • Mets, metz

  • Can mean at least two things; metastases and/or Metzenbaum scissors, and should be typed out in the proper context of the report.

  • Mikes

  • Micrograms; spell out in a sentence; use standard abbreviation when dictated with a quantity

  • Mud pies

  • Mnemonic for anion gap acidosis

- N -

  • Nitro

  • Used for many types of nitroglycerin; an acceptable term in most medical facilities. Aside from that we cannot assume WHICH form of nitroglycerin is being referred to.

- O -

  • Olive

  • Not really slang; a term meaning a hard knot found in the right upper quadrant in pyloric stenosis

  • Osteo

  • Osteoporosis? osteomyelitis? osteopenia? Here again we cannot second-guess the dictator, so we must leave the prefix stand alone

  • Oxy hood and oxy tent

  • Oxygen hood, oxygen tent

- P -

  • Peds

  • Spell out pediatrics

  • Pee

  • Unless the doctor is quoting the patient, please substitute the word urinate for pee.

  • Perfed appy

  • Ruptured appendix

  • Perineal towel sign

  • Refers to panty liner, sanitary napkin, tissues, incontinence diapers, washcloths, or towels worn in underwear of elderly women with urinary incontinence which, in the context of otherwise unexplained illness or early urosepsis

  • Peristalsing

  • Peristalsis is a noun and should not be back formatted to become a verb, even though often dictated that way. Recast the sentence to use correct format; e.g. instead of "Bowel sounds are peristalsing normally," it should read "Peristalsis is normal."

  • Pneumo

  • Pneumo what? pneumonia? pneumothorax? pneumocentesis? pneumocystis? Do not spell out the entire word unless you are absolutely certain of what is meant by this dictated prefix. In this case I would attach a note for the dictator.

  • Popper

  • A drug abuser who self-injects subcutaneously, usually because the drug habit has sclerosed all peripheral IV sites of access, leaving no other way for injection

  • Pothole sign

  • Method to gauge sufferers of an acute appendicitis attack

  • Preemie

  • Premature infant

  • Preemie

  • Premature infant; best spelled out in medical reports

  • Primip

  • Type out primipara

  • Pulse ox

  • Acceptable, as there is only one meaning, but "pulse oximetry" is better spelled out.

  • Pumper

  • Bleeding vessel seen during examination of or repair of a wound

- R -

  • Rally pack

  • Combination of sodium chloride, folic acid, thiamine, and multivitamins frequently given to malnourished patients

  • Retic count

  • Reticulocyte blood count test

  • Rig

  • Transporting ambulance

  • ROMI, romied

  • Meaning "rule out myocardial infarction," which may be spelled out or the acronym used. For the dictated "The patient was romied," it is usually safe to type "The patient was placed on a rule out myocardial infarction protocol." or "...placed on a ROMI protocol."

  • Roofie

  • Barbiturate which can be slipped into a drink for abuse, often Rohypnol

  • Rule of 9's

  • For assessing percentage of body surface area in burns

- S -

  • Sad persons

  • Mnemonic for suicide risk factors

  • Sat, satting

  • In the proper context, "sat" or "sats" refers to saturation of oxygen. The term "satting at..." is certainly unacceptable. Substitute "having saturations at..."

  • Saucerized

  • Corruption of the word saucerization, and an acceptable term.

  • Scanning a patient

  • Used to describe ordering or performing an imaging study of the patient in the form of CT scan or ultrasound nuclear medicine scan

  • Scoop and run

  • In the event that no treatment is possible at accident scene, patient is urgently transported to ER

  • Sed rate

  • Sedimentation rate blood test

  • Segs

  • Segmented cells; acceptable abbreviation

  • Shoot and boot

  • Medicate and discharge

  • Shooter

  • User of injected illicit drugs; perpetrator who actually commits the act of firing on a victim with a firearm

  • Skeletonized

  • An acceptable back-formation used in surgery dictation which means that an anatomical part (usually an artery) was stripped of surrounding tissue.

  • Skin popping

  • Used to describe self-injection of drugs subcutaneously, usually because the drug habit has sclerosed all peripheral IV sites of access

  • Sludge

  • Mnemonic for cholinergic overdose

  • Smurf sign

  • Slang for Chadwick sign and/or Jacquemier sign ("Smurf" because it refers to a blue discoloration of vaginal tissue in pregnancy). Okay to type as dictated.

  • Stepdown unit

  • A monitored setting not as intense as any type of ICU

  • Sundowner/sundown

  • Well-known tendency for senile or demented syndrome patients to have a nocturnal worsening of their mental status and confusion

  • Swiss cheese

  • A colorful descriptive term sometimes used in radiology to describe severe osteoporosis. All we can do is type as dictated.

- T -

  • Temp

  • Better to spell out temperature

  • Tet syndrome

  • Tetralogy of Fallot syndrome; spell out

  • The dwindles

  • Slow, vague failure to thrive or senile physical deterioration

  • The vapors

  • Vague somatization and physical complaints

  • Theo level

  • Theophylline level; spell out

  • Thump

  • Vigorous thrust to the chest in order to try to stimulate heart

  • Trach

  • Spell out when the meaning is known, which should be obvious; tracheostomy or tracheotomy

  • Triple A

  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm

  • Trumpet

  • Nasopharyngeal airway, said to be so named due to the flared end that keeps the tube from slipping backwards

  • Tweak score

  • Scale for assessing alcoholism dependence

  • Twisted gut

  • Volvulus; decision to be made on an individual basis as to the advisability of using this rather unprofessional description

- U -

  • UA

  • An abbreviation which can be used in laboratory data for urinalysis or for uric acid; better to spell out for clarity

  • Unit

  • Transporting ambulance

- V -

  • V tach

  • Spell out ventricular tachycardia

  • Vanc

  • Vancomycin; spell out in reports

- W -

  • Walking wounded

  • Injured, not critical

  • Wheezer

  • Asthmatic patient

  • White coat syndrome

  • This is a perfectly acceptable term. The patient is anxious/nervous about being in the doctor's office which results in benign temporary hypertension.

- Y -

  • Yuppie flu

  • Okay to transcribe as dictated


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