Hospital Slang

The Secret Language Of Doctors

Social Injuries - code for a patient who practices autoeroticism by inserting objects into the rectum.
BeeMer - a polite way of saying that the PATIENt is huge.
Code Brown - a poop emergency.Whiny Primey - First time moms who assume every cramp or minor contraction is the start of labor, and rush down to the hospital.
Frequent Flyer - A patient with so many visits to the ER in a short period of time that they’re on a first-name basis with ER doctors and nurses.
Incarceritis - a patient who arrives to the ER in police custody complaining of a bogus condition attempting to avoid incarceration.
Status Dramaticus - a patient who seeks unwarranted attention from doctors and nurses by overdramatizing his or her symptoms.
SFU-50 - an acronym for shut the fuck up. Used During surgery where a patient is awake and talking too much.
FOOBA - stands for found on orthopedics barely alive.Get the DNR - to get a patient or next of kin to sign a form that absolves the doctor of any obligation to do a Full Code should the patient’s heart stop.
Full Code - if your heart stops, the doctors do a full and proper heart resuscitation that includes CPR, electric shocks to the heart and a ventilator.
Hollywood Code - a pretend resuscitation in which the doctors will look like they’re trying to save him even though they aren’t.
The above is taken from The Secret Language of Doctors, by bestselling author, CBC host and ER physician Dr. Brian Goldman.


Why I Wrote The Secret Language of Doctors?

When I was a resident, I was first introduced to hospital slang.  I enjoyed the feeling of learning the secret handshake.  More than that, I found that slang words like “social admission” and “slow code” helped me cope with unpleasant situations and the unspeakable human tragedies health professionals experience as part of the job.  To use those coded words and phrases – and to share them with my colleagues – made me feel a great kinship to my band of brothers and sisters.

Today, with more than a generation practising in the ER and observing up close the culture of modern medicine, I look at slang terms quite differently.   There are many terms used to describe elderly patents, those with dementia, obesity, chronic illness, not to mention addiction and mental health issues.  Collectively, they’re the patients the system wishes it didn’t have to deal with.

Often, the problem is lack of training, and lack of proper equipment to care for these patients.  Sometimes, the problem is a lack of empathy for our patients, our colleagues and ourselves.

I don’t see slang as the problem; I see it as a symptom of some fundamental issues in medicine.

I don’t use hospital slang as much these days, but I’m keenly interested in learning how it’s used, who uses it, and what the slang tells me about the local hospital culture.  I don’t believe it’s practical or even desirable to eradicate slang, since doing so will only drive it underground.

I believe that observing and commenting on it can help deal with the underlying problems in health care, and make it more empathetic and safer for you.  I also think this sort of information will help you and your family get the best care possible.